Valentina: the unlikely cosmonaut

Soviet cosmonaut, Valentia Tereshkova was born on 6th March 1937 in the Yaroslavl Region of the former Soviet Union. She was the middle child of three. Her mother worked in a textile plant and her father drove a tractor. She was 8 years old when she started going to school in 1945. In 1953 she left school to start work. However, she didn’t give up on her education. Valentina continued to learn by taking correspondence courses.

Valentia Tereshkova was interested in parachuting, and it was her expertise in parachute jumping that led to her being chosen as a cosmonaut. She was an amateur parachutist and worked in a textile factory when she was recruited to join the Soviet’s cosmonaut program.

Valentina was one of four women chosen for a special women-in-space program, though Valentina was the only woman of the four who completed a space mission.

Valentina Tereshkova took of in Vostok 6 on 6th June 1963 and became the first woman to fly in space. She orbited the Earth 48 times in a flight that lasted for 70.8 hours. When she landed, she never flew again, but she was named as a Hero of the Soviet Union and became a spokesperson for them.  She also received the United Nations Gold Medal of Peace whilst she was acting as the spokesperson for the Soviet Union.

On 3rd November 1963, Valentina Tereshkova married Andrian Nikolayev, another cosmonaut. They had a daughter named Elena who was the subject of  medical interest as she was the first child to ever be born to two parents that had both been exposed to space. Elena went on to become a doctor. Valentina Tereshkova and Andrian Nikolayev divorced in 1980.

In Exchange is currently available for pre-order for Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and Kindle readers, priced at $2.99, and will be officially launched on 12th April 2016.
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