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The Guardian Interviews Valentina Tereshkova, the First Woman In Space (theguardian.com) 76

Oxygen99 writes: The Guardian published an interview today with the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, ahead of her forthcoming exhibition at the London Science Museum. An interesting and informal chat with perhaps the most visible and famous living face of the Soviet space program. Here's an excerpt from the interview: "Over 50 years ago, in 1963, Tereshkova became the first woman to go into space, and it was her parachuting experience that qualified her for selection. She was only 26 when she made her one and only space flight, but that feat has defined the rest of her life. It propelled her into the upper reaches of the Soviet elite, and gave her security for life. That elevation though came at a life-long cost: a treadmill of obligations that has lasted more than half a century. Public speaking, accepting honors, roving the world as a citizen-diplomat, being a very visible part of Soviet, and now Russian, public life, are roles that she continues to fulfill to this day. Hence her visit to London for the opening of a display of artifacts linked to her cosmonaut's life. It is one of a series of UK-Russia collaborations, following the hugely successful Russian space exhibition at the museum last year."
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The Guardian Interviews Valentina Tereshkova, the First Woman In Space

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  • This is woman that Kerbal Space Program's "Valentina Kerman [kerbalspaceprogram.com]" is named after.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 30, 2017 @04:58AM (#54141207)

    Russia had the first craft in orbit. The first man in space. The first to have landers on other planets. And they had the first woman in space, and whenever someone pays tribute and attention to it, you just gotta troll the whole thread and find ways of diminishing Russias victory in the space race. Get over it.

    • I was just waiting for someone to link her to the Trump Campaign. If it makes them feel any better it wasn't particularly the Russians they were racing at the start of the space race anyway. Most of the early victories were blagged by Chief Engineer Sergei Pavlovich Koroljev. The political elites in Russia were pretty oblivious to what was going on and actually pretty derisive of the Russian side of the space race.
    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 ) on Thursday March 30, 2017 @10:36AM (#54142925)
      That period of time of Soviet space firsts defined our space program for decades, and in many ways it still does. NASA was created as a direct result of Sputnik. Apollo Program was created as a direct result of Gagarin. ISS became as a direct result of bringing Russia in as partners (US was working on space station but to make it a reality, all them post Soviet guys had to be brought onboard). etc. etc. Well it's been a half century and those achievements still influence us! i.e. SLS and Orion are Apollo 2.0. Soyuz, the only craft that can put people into space these days (please don't give me news others can do it until they actually do it) was created to beat the Americans to the Moon.
    • Russia had the first craft in orbit. The first man in space. The first to have landers on other planets. And they had the first woman in space, and whenever someone pays tribute and attention to it, you just gotta troll the whole thread and find ways of diminishing Russias victory in the space race. Get over it.

      I'm not an American, but the fact remains that that the first satellite and the interplanetary probes were amazing technical achievements, the first man in space was an amazing technical achievement as well as a dangerous stunt for its time (perhaps a bit too dangerous, but Vostoks were ultimately as lucky as the first Shuttle flights), but Tereshkova's flight was mostly a political stunt with much less of an achievement of any meaningful kind (except perhaps for the demonstration of quick launch ramp cycli

  • That poor woman! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday March 30, 2017 @05:05AM (#54141233)

    "That elevation though came at a life-long cost: a treadmill of obligations that has lasted more than half a century. Public speaking, accepting honors, roving the world as a citizen-diplomat, being a very visible part of Soviet, and now Russian, public life, are roles that she continues to fulfill to this day."

    How has she managed to survive this burden for this incredibly long time?

    • Dunno. It seemed to do for Yuri Gagarin.
    • Re:That poor woman! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Thursday March 30, 2017 @07:03AM (#54141517)

      You do understand that being a representative of the Soviet Union (and to a slightly lesser extent Russia) carries a very large risk of a long and unpleasant internment or 'accident' if you say the wrong thing?

      Here in the West you get 'disgraced' and might have trouble finding work if the employer thinks of themselves as a patriot. There it's jail or death.

      You can read it in the interview (between the lines). She's still afraid, which is why she's kissing Putin's ass. She's a state asset for life.

      • She's merely saying that both Soviet Union and Russian Federation are countries like any other. And if you feel an urge to find ways to paint them in negative light at any opportunity then you're a moron brainwashed by propaganda.
        • >both Soviet Union and Russian Federation are countries like any other.

          I live in Canada where our Prime Minister's critics don't frequently die under suspicious circumstances, so no. Where we don't have a long history of political prisoners.

          >And if you feel an urge to find ways to paint them in negative light at any opportunity then you're a moron brainwashed by propaganda.

          I think you're the moron here. Or maybe you just need to move to a nicer country.

          • The thing is every country has its own share of deaths that could be deemed "suspicious" if you arbitrarily assign them the role of "political critic". If it's done only for Russia then it's double standard. I'm not willing to live in other countries that still wage propaganda war against Soviet Union(which they equate with Russia) even when there's no longer a point for that. It kinda proves that the reason of propaganda war was not that Soviet Union was doing something wrong but that it was a competitor t
            • Yep. It's all us. None of that reputation for corrupt government was earned. We're all just as bad. (That's sarcasm, just to make sure you understand)

              Stop being so provincial, learn a bit about the world. Lots of places are worse, many are significantly better.

              • Yup. We (entire world) is like this. Corruption or lack of thereof is determined by particular people, not by countries. And I wouldn't say that Russia has any particularly bad history about this stuff. Nothing that England or France didn't do worse in their time. Once again that's all spin and double standard.
      • That could happen anyway for any reason to anyone in Soviet Russia. The main difference is that she had a decent life.

      • You seriously exaggerate the danger. It weren't 1930ies anymore when Tereshkova went to space. Even those who seriously pissed off the Soviet government kept their lives, otherwise people like Solzhenitsyn wouldn't have survived.

  • Interesting woman... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Tereshkova had no training as a pilot prior to becoming a cosmonaut. However, as a young woman she did have a hobby as a skydiver, which made her an accomplished parachutist. This was an important consideration because cosmonauts at the time had to eject and parachute down a few seconds before the capsule "landed" on dry land.

    Tereshkova's other important credential was that she was an avid member of the Communist Party

    A long-held secret was that Tereshkova was in danger during the flight. An engineer got t

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 30, 2017 @06:49AM (#54141477)

      Miss Tereshkova was not only the first female to fly in space on her Vostok 6 flight, but was also the first astronaut or cosmonaut to really suffer badly from what is now known as "SAS" (Space Adaptation Syndrome). This is a malady that we now know affects about 50-60% of all space travellers (both male and female), and is essentially akin to having a bad case of motion sickness here on Earth.

      Unfortunately, Valentina had to deal with serious nausea and vomiting while on orbit, making her nearly 3-day mission quite a miserable experience for her. While the USSR reported to the world that her mission went off great and she had no problems while in space, American CIA listening posts around the globe that were monitoring the radio traffic between her Vostok spacecraft and the Soviet mission control knew that was not the case, having secretly intercepted radio comms of her actually even crying over the radio as she described how terrible she felt and how badly she just wanted to come home.
      The CIA decided to keep that information classified for years however, not only because they did not want to reveal to the Soviets and the world the depth of their global Signals Intelligence gathering capabilities, but also because they realized that if they did go public with how sick Valentina really was while on orbit (which contradicted the official Soviet propaganda narrative), it would probably be seen globally by many as America just trying to undermine the Soviet achievement, particularly given the time period and sexist attitudes that were prevalent in the USA back then.

      Valentina's flight was quite clearly led entirely by a Soviet propaganda motive, as there was simply no way the USA would have been willing to fly a female at the time. Propaganda and sexist attitudes, as well as training and spacecraft design, were the big reasons she got to fly that mission. The Soviets were very good at exploiting ways to beat the USA in being the first to do things in space, and realized that women in the USA in the 1960s would NEVER be considered to be allowed as active astronauts, even if they had the skills.

      The USSR recognized that having the first man and first woman in space would forever be in the history/record books as a very big deal, and wanted to take advantage of that opening in the space race to score a propaganda victory that they could use to proclaim and show the toughness and sex equality of Soviet women to the world. Remember that it took the Soviets 19 years after Valentina to fly another female into space, which shows they really did not care about the "equality" issue all that much, but rather were just hunting for the propaganda victory.

      The Soviets definitely made a huge deal of Valentina's flight though, and the reason the USSR were willing and able to fly Valentina was because of the design of the Vostok capsule system. The entire flight of the Vostok system was designed to be controlled from pre-programmed on-board systems and the ground if need be, without any cosmonaut intervention actually needed at all. Valentina by all accounts had an absolutely miserable flight (nothing to do with her sex BTW, it was just that she did not acclimate to the conditions due to inexperience and SAS). Her big and really only skill in her being selected for that Vostok 6 mission was that she was an experienced parachutist - a requirement because the Vostok spacecraft actually ejected the cosmonaut prior to the capsule impacting the ground, with the cosmonaut landing under their own personal chute rather than in the spacecraft itself.

      The issue of putting a woman's life at significant risk in the USA during the 1960s was a big deal (and seen as a big cultural no-no) in the military/space arena, and due to prevailing sexist attitudes at the time, the USA was worried enough about the PR disaster of losing a man in space, let alone the utter calamity that would result in losing a woman's life. It took until the 1980s, when America's STS shuttle program (with its large passenger capability) began

      • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Thursday March 30, 2017 @09:57AM (#54142555)

        which shows they really did not care about the "equality" issue all that much

        I think you are putting far too modern a "spin" on it. There was apparently a bit of a long term plan (or more like a dream really) to have large space stations some day equivalent to a small town, so there was some curiousity to see if anything unexpected would happen with a woman in space. File it with the much later missions where they kept cosmonauts in space for over a year to see what would happen.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      Tereshkova had no training as a pilot prior to becoming a cosmonaut

      The US space program had very close links to a series of aircraft test programs and that's really why the Mercury astronauts were test pilots despite nearly everything being controlled from the ground. They didn't really need to be pilots (apparently) until Gemini and Apollo. The Russians didn't really need trained pilots for their early capsules either.

      in danger during the flight. An engineer got the calculations wrong

      There was a lot of t

  • He's a SOVIET, former KGB, and is IN power. With his connections, she would assume room temperature if she went against him...as some people have with him in control. Plus, he would and is trying to put the soviet union back together, and, she grew up in the communist system and probably longs for those days. Until that age (30's to 90) is gone, the threat of a return to a "soviet union" will remain.

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley

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