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More Russian women may be sent into space — Tereshkova

March 16, 10:13 UTC+3 LONDON
Hero of the Soviet Union and the first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova says 'like a bird cannot fly with one wing, the society cannot develop dynamically without the active participation of women'
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Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova

© Leon Neal/Getty Images

LONDON, March 16. /TASS/. Russia has good prospects of launching more female cosmonauts into space, Hero of the Soviet Union and the first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova told reporters at the opening of an exhibition in her honor at London's Science Museum on Wednesday.

"Like a bird cannot fly with one wing, the society cannot develop dynamically without the active participation of women. There are very many clever, decent, smart and competent female specialists, who work in cosmonautics. It seems to me that we have a good prospect for sending more women into space," Tereshkova said.

Tereshkova made the first space flight, which was almost three days long, on June 16, 1963, on board the Vostok-6 spaceship. Her flight opened the new era in the history of cosmonautics. After her, another 59 women were launched into space, and only three of them were from the Soviet Union and Russia - Svetlana Savitskaya, Elena Kondakova and Elena Serova.

Tereshkova believes that the main reason why the Soviet Union and Russia sent only four women into space was because the Vostok program flights ended.

"A new spaceship was under development, but not very successfully at first, tests were carried out. This spacecraft was tested, Vladimir Komarov (Soviet test pilot) died. New flights were conducted, the crew died, and the spacecraft was upgraded… And each time after another disaster our female team was moved aside…that’s the main reason - the spacecraft," she said.

Tereshkova said the future of cosmonautics is first of all linked to the colonization of the Moon and then Mars. "We need to think if some disaster on the Earth occurs, the mankind needs to search for a planet that will be more or less suitable," she said.

The legendary cosmonaut, who turned 80 last week and is an MP of the State Duma, has shared her recipe for life: "To work, work hard from dusk till dawn. I don’t have any other recipe. I remember that I have been working since 17 years of age. I was happy to be selected to the team of cosmonauts and have served many years in the air force."

The exhibition in London, "Valentina Tereshkova: First Woman in Space," opened on March 15 and will last until September 16. It mainly focuses on Tereshkova’s life outside space - her work at a plant and political career, and her passion for parachute jumping.

Guests of the exhibition will see a documentary film, "Legend of Valentina," made by the Science Museum and the ArtPoint foundation on occasion of her 80th birthday. The exhibition became one of the central events of the Year of Science and Education of the United Kingdom and Russia in 2017, organized by the British Council and the UK Embassy in Moscow.

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