In 1961, the Soviet Union accepted 24-year-old Valentina Tereshkova for cosmonaut training. Tereshkova, who had made more than 126 parachute jumps, trained for two years.
Though Tereshkova was not as well trained as other female Soviet pilots, she was accepted because the Soviet leader, Nikita Khruschev, wanted an ordinary worker. Tereshkova was not well educated, but she studied hard and was able to pass grueling tests of physical endurance.
On June 16, 1963, Tereshkova, the first woman to enter space, was carried into Earth’s orbit aboard the Vostok 6 “I see the horizon,” she said over the radio. “A light blue, a blue band. This is the earth.
How beautiful it is. Everything is going well.” Over three days, Tereshkova circled the globe 48 times, totaling 1,255,000 miles. She returned to Earth safely and was awarded Hero of the Soviet Union and received the Order of Lenin.