Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, Rusian astronaut, 1992.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Teroshkova (b 1937) was the first woman in space. Born in a village in Western Rusia, she worked in a textile plant from the age of 16 and parachuted as a hobby. In 1962 she became the first person ever to be recruited to the Soviet space program without experience as a test pilot. Her selection was instead based on her parachuting skills. As a 2nd Lieutenant in the Soviet Air Force, she was the solo pilot in the space capsule Vostok 6, which was launched from the Tyuratam Space Station in the UsR on 16 June 1963. She remained in orbit for three days, undertaking physiological and psychological tests. Children from St George's School in Harrow, Middlesex, met Teroshkova on a visit to the Science Museum in London on 9 April 1992.