SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova (b.1937), Russian cosmonaut and the first woman in space. Tereshkova was born in Yaroslavl region of central Russia. At age 16 she left school to become a textile worker like her mother. She was an amateur parachutist, and for this reason she was selected to train as a cosmonaut. She met all the technical and medical requirements, but also has an especially 'proletarian' background, being the daughter of a tractor driver and war hero. She was selected for the Vostok 6 mission and flew on 16-19 June 1963. After the dissolution of the female cosmonaut corps in 1969 Tereshkova dedicated herself to the communist party, taking several political roles. She retired after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Photographed during.
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