The Story of the First Woman to Travel into Space

The BBC is today highlighting the story of the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, on its magazine site. A radio programme was also broadcast today and is available online here.

Cosmonaut Tereshkova has spoken infrequently of her experiences in space, so I’m very much looking forward to catching up on this programme.

The article makes clear that being the first woman in space came at a heavy cost to Valentina, who was subsequently used as a propaganda tool by the communist regime. Being given away in marriage to another cosmonaut by Premier Khrushchev seems quite bizarre.

There also appear to be lingering rumours about the performance of the flight; the fact that no woman followed Valentina for another 20 years is a curious one. This should not take anything away from Tereshkova’s achievement which also served as inspiration for woman worldwide. Her story is fascinating.

If you get a chance to listen to the Radio 4 programme leave your comments below!

The Greta Garbo of space

The textile worker spent three days orbiting the earth then returned to her factory in an open-top car, laden with flowers. Treated like royalty, she was the perfect proletarian heroine. In the Cold War space race, she became an icon for gender equality.

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