One of the coolest moments of my life occurred while I was touring Звёздный городо́к, otherwise known as ‘Star City’, the home of the Russian space program. As I stepped off the bus, I noticed a women walking towards the group I was with surrounded by what looked like a few body guards. This lady turned out to be Valentina Tereshkova, the first female to travel to space. The date was June 16, 2013 and it was the 50th anniversary of her historic flight into space. Even though she did not have time to stop and talk to us, I can still say I met the first woman in space.
On June 16, 1963, Valentina launched in the Vostok 6 for what would turn into a three day space flight. This individual flight ended up being longer than all other the U.S. space flights until that point. There was also some mystery and cover ups surrounding the flight. The true story of the flight not being released until 2007. The information that came out following the flight was that Valentina performed poorly during the flight, had emotional problems as well as physical problems. All of these claims were used to cover up the fact that there were technical problems with the reentry system that if no fixed, would have resulted in Valentina’s death. It was all due to Valentina’s intelligence that the reentry was completed successfully. The problems did not end there, though. She was exhausted after the three days in space and when the parachute opened to slow her decent she realized that she was descending towards a huge lake. She would have been in serious trouble if she had landed in the lake, but luckily for her, the wind blew her over the land. With that, the three day journey of the first women in space was complete and Valentina Tereshkova was home safe and sound.