First woman in space turns 75

March 6th, 2012 - 11:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, March 6 (IANS) Valentina Tereshkova who became the world’s first woman to go into space after her flight in June 1963 turned 75 Tuesday.

Tereshkova told Xinhua on the eve of the International Women’s Day that the job of being a cosmonaut “remains a sort of a disease, once sicken of, will last for a whole life”.

In June 1963, then 26-year-old, Tereshkova, code-named Chaika (Seagull), went into space onboard the spaceship Vostok VI. But her success came with no ease at all.

“It was after Yuri Gagarin’s space flight that I wanted to become a cosmonaut. I think in our country there was no girl or boy who would not like to repeat Gagarin’s heroic deed,” she recalled.

Tereshkova’s ambition coincided with the Soviet space authorities’ idea of sending a female into space. In October 1961, announcements were made to recruit five women for the new space plans.

During the final selection, Tereshkova, along with other candidates, underwent the complete course of cosmonaut training, including weightless flights, parachute jumps, isolation tests, and centrifuge tests.

Tereshkova’s flight on the Vostok-6 spaceship lasted for three days, or 48 circuits.

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