Valentina Vladimirovna Nikolayeva Tereshkova was born in Maslennikovo, Russia, on March 6, 1937. In 1961, she volunteered for a cosmonaut program (a cosmonaut is the Russian form of astronaut) and was accepted because she was an "accomplished amateur parachutist." Before this incident, however, Valentina was a textile worker. From 1962 to 1990, Valentina was a U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet member, which is the U.S.S.R National Parliament.
On June 16, 1963, Valentina became the first woman in space and the first non-testpilot cosmonaut in the Vostok 6. She orbited the Earth 48 times in 71 hours. She landed back on Earth on June 19 and after that experience, she left the program.
On November 3, 1963, Valentina married fellow cosmonaut Andriyan G. Nikolayev. Their daughter, Yelena, the first child of parents that have both been in space, was born in 1964. However, they later divorced. From 1974 to 1990, Valentina served as a Supreme Soviet Presidium member, which is the Soviet government's special panel.
Valentina was also named a Soviet Union hero and received the Order of Lenin, a prestigious award, twice.
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