Valentina Tereshkova


Valentina Tereshkova Guess What!

In 1963 Valentina Tereshkova orbited Earth 48 times!

Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was born in the Yaroslavl Region of Russia on March 6, 1937. She was the second born of three children. Her father was a tractor driver and her mother worked in a textile plant. Valentina began school in 1945 at the age of eight. In 1953, she left school and began working. She continued her education by correspondence courses.

Valentina became interested in parachute jumping at an early age. It was her expertise in parachute jumping that led to her selection as a cosmonaut. Tereshkova was a textile-factory assembly worker and an amateur parachutist when she was recruited into the cosmonaut program. Under the direction of Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev, four women were selected to be trained for a special woman-in-space program. Of the four women selected, only Valentina Tereshkova completed a space mission.

Tereshkova was launched aboard Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963 and became the first woman to fly in space. During the 70.8 hour flight, Vostok 6 made 48 orbits of Earth. Upon completion of her mission, Tereshkova was honored with the title Hero of the Soviet Union. She never flew again, but she did become a spokesperson for the Soviet Union. While fulfilling this role, she received the United Nations Gold Medal of Peace.

On November 3, 1963, Tereshkova married astronaut Andrian Nikolayev. Their first child, a daughter named Elena, was a subject of medical interest because she was the first child born to parents who had both been exposed to space. Elena later went on to become a medical doctor. Tereshkova and Nikolayev divorced in 1980.

A Question

Why was the medical community interested in Valentina Tereshkova's daughter?

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