Valentina Tereshkova: ‘Cinderella of the Stars’ Journey

Valentina Tereshkova: 'Cinderella of the Stars' Journey from Factory Worker to First Astronaut
Valentina Tereshkova: ‘Cinderella of the Stars’ Journey from Factory Worker to First Astronaut

Valentina Tereshkova: ‘Cinderella of the Stars’ Journey

58 years ago today, on June 16, 1963, the Soviet Union stunned the world by sending the first female astronaut, Valentina Tereshkova, into space.

“I am Chaika … I am Chaika. ”These words, uttered in a broken voice thousands of miles from the earth, heralded the arrival of the first lady in space.

“Chika” means seagull in Russian and was the call sign of astronaut Valentina Tereshkova. She was sitting on a rocket named Vostok 6 with her orange space dress and gray shoes and her helmet had ‘USSR’ written on it.

Russia had sent the first satellite into space, the first animal, the first male astronaut and now the first female astronaut. In this space race, at least until 1963, Russia was ahead of the United States.

58 years ago today, on June 16, 1963, the Soviet Union stunned the world by sending the first female astronaut, Valentina Tereshkova, into space. She remained in space for only three days. The BBC’s Lucy Ash traveled to Russia a few years ago for the Witness History program to find out more about the historic journey that is being presented here.


The 26-year-old blue-eyed girl loved to be active since childhood. As a child, she would look at train drivers and think, “I wish I had their place and run trains all over the world.”

Tired of traveling the earth, she looked up at the sky and entered a local parachute club. Valentina Tereshkova, as a child, used to look at train drivers and wish they had a place and trains all over the world. Drives

But the story actually begins with Yuri Gagarin, the first male astronaut sent into space by Russia. When Yuri Gagarin returned home safely from his space trip, the whole country was enchanted by him.

Valentina Tereshkova was one of those people who was obsessed with space and was also very impressed with Gagarin.

That is why Tereshkova wrote a letter to the authorities urging them to go into space. A small letter would be the key to taking them into space. It was not even in the imagination of a girl working in a factory.

Russia’s Central Committee, however, was looking for such lower-class heroes. A few days later, a few Russian space program workers secretly monitored him on his parachute, and when all was said and done, he was immediately summoned to Moscow.

Here, Tereshkova was to receive the training that enabled her to travel safely into space, but she was not alone, but was accompanied by four other women.

“Second Valentina” and the struggle to go into space
One of the four women was Valentina Poonamari Ova, and her mention here is important because she reached the final stage in the selection of women to go into space.

“The five of us women were very cautious in the beginning, but over time we started spending more and more time together,” says Poonamari Ova, recalling the time.

“We lived together, we trained together, we ate together and we did everything together,” she said. ۔ ‘

“We had a lot of fun humming songs, especially those made with reference to astronauts at the time.”

And then came the day that all these girls had been waiting for. On November 19, 1962, it was decided who would go into space.

The only two women who survived were Valentina Tereshkova and Valentina Poonamari Ova, but for the final choice, the ideology took precedence over skill.

Tereshkova spoke publicly about her support for the central party, and her daughter Yolina now admits that her beauty had a hand in her choice.

She talks about her refreshing face and says that the then Soviet leader Khrushchev was fascinated by her beauty. She says she was a factory worker and that Khrushchev liked her.

“My mother was very impressed with Jackie Kennedy (JF Kennedy’s wife and former first lady of the United States) and she wanted to look like him.”

Valentina Poonamari Ova’s test results were excellent, but she could not impress the selection board. When asked in an interview what she wants out of life, she said, “Everything it can give me.”

Many years after their rejection, they are still very disappointed. “It was a very sad moment when Tereshkova flew into space and left us behind,” she said.

“They told us not to despair, you will all have the opportunity to go into space and we will live on that hope for many years to come.” I felt like my life was over and there was nothing left to do. “

Remembering the natural sounds in space
When Valentina Tereshkova landed in space, pictures of her capsule hung in the air with a pen and writing copy became popular, which was well-received on a British TV program. His conversation with the Soviet leader from space was heard all over the world.

“All systems are working well,” she said, adding that she was “feeling very good.”

“I am happy and proud that Valentina is the first woman to go into space from the Soviet Union and that she is using such sophisticated equipment,” Khrushchev replied.

Her connection to the earth was cut off, but she says that the farther I was from the earth, the more I remembered natural sounds, like rain.

They also encountered problems during the mission. At the time, he denied allegations of excessive gold in space, but later admitted it. He also denied vomiting in capsules, but nowadays it is considered normal for astronauts.

Her daughter also denies this, saying that her mother thought she was jealous of those who spread the word, and it was a very complicated situation.

After spending three days in space, it was time for him to return. They were first pulled out of the capsule at a height of seven kilometers from the ground and then at four kilometers their parachute opened.

Her daughter says that wherever she landed, the farmers first saw her and when they saw her dressed as an astronaut, they started touching her and said, “Oh, you are alive, you are so interesting.”

She says that my mother also tasted her special food because it was very interesting for her.

A very old woman asked my mother, “Oh my daughter, did you see God in space because you were so high?” So my mother replied, “No, I can’t see.”

“Thousands of workers made the trip secure.”
On her return, Valentina Tereshkova received a warm welcome, and as she walked the red carpet wearing white heels, some nicknamed her “Cinderella of the Stars” and “Gagarin in a Skirt.”

After his speech, Khrushchev hugged him and then he met his crying elderly mother. Shortly afterwards, Valentina Tereshkova married fellow astronaut Andrian Nikolova, and Khrushchev hosted the wedding at the state level.

In an interview 17 years after the historic space trip, he humbly credited the success of the mission to all those who secured it.

“Thousands of workers made the trip, including doctors, designers, scientists and others who prepared me for the flight,” he said.

Only 19 years after he went into space, a woman was sent into space.

Protest against Soviet authorities for not sending more women into space
Many years after the historic trip, Valentina Tereshkova told BBC News that she had criticized the Central Communist Party for not sending more women into space in a letter of protest. He said the Soviet authorities thought it would be “extremely dangerous” to do so.

He told the BBC’s Plab Ghosh in 2015 that “if men and women on Earth are facing the same dangers, why not in space.”

“We were thinking of sending more women into space, but the head of the space program, Sergei Correlo, decided it would be very dangerous for women because the team included a married woman.”

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