Have you ever asked yourself who was the first woman who decides to leave planet earth to discover the universe? Let’s take look at the first women in space, women who dared to try and show other women that nothing is impossible.
First woman in space
Valentina Tereshkova was born on 6 March 1937 in Russia. Her father was a former tractor driver and a sergeant in the Soviet army. Her father died when he was two years old. After her father died her mother moved the family to another city, looking for a job.
Tereshkova could not go to school before she was 10 and she graduated at 17. She started working at a tire factory but continued studying by correspondence courses.
She was interested in parachuting and skydiving. She did her first jump at 22. She didn’t intend to go to space but she was chosen by the director of cosmonaut training among 400 parachutists. Russia started training women before men because they didn’t want Americans to send the first woman to space.
On 16 June 1963, the Vostok 6 launched successfully and Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space. She is also the only woman to fly to space solo and the youngest at 26 years old. Her call sign on this flight was Chaika (Russian: ‘Seagull’). After her launch, she radioed down:
It is I, Seagull! Everything is fine. I see the horizon; it’s a sky blue with a dark strip. How beautiful the Earth is … everything is going well.
One cannot deny the great role women have played in the world community. My flight was yet another impetus to continue this female contribution.Valentina Tereshkova
First American woman in space
Sally Ride was the first American woman who went to space. Sally was born on May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles. Sally was a Physicist and joined NASA in 1978.
On June 18th, 1983, the Space shuttle Challenger was launched and Sally Ride became the first American woman who traveled to space. Sally Ride is also the youngest American woman, 32 years old, who went to space. Sally Ride traveled to space twice. She flew on Challenger again in 1984.
I think it’s important for little girls growing up, and young women, to have one in every walk of life. So from that point of view, I’m proud to be a role model!Sally Ride
First African American woman in space
Mae Carol Jemison was born on October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama. Mae loved dancing and Science. She went to Stanford University and graduated in Chemical Engineering. Then she decided to be a doctor, so she went to Cornell University and earned her medical degree.
Passionate to be an astronaut, she applied to NASA in 1987 and was elected to serve for the STS-47 mission. From September 12 to 20, 1992, on STS-47 she traveled to space and became the first African American woman who went to space.
“Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination.”Mae Jemison
First Indian woman in space
Kalpana Chawla was born in Karnal, India, in 1962. Kalpana was passionate about flying when she was young. Her father supported her passion and took her to local flying clubs. Kalpana left India and moved to the U.S. to pursue her dreams. She earned advanced degrees in engineering. After earning two master’s degrees, she earned a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado.
In 1988, just after graduating, she became a NASA researcher. In 1994, Chawla was selected as an astronaut candidate. She first flew on the Space shuttle Colombia in 1997 as a mission specialist.
She flew into space two different times aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. But during her second flight, Columbia exploded as it returned to Earth. Chawla and six fellow astronauts were killed on February 1, 2003.
The first view of the Earth is magical. It is a very overpowering realization that the Earth is so small. It affected me. I could not get over the notion that in such a small planet, with such a small ribbon of life, so much goes on. It is as if the whole place is sacred.Kalpana Chawla
First woman died on her way to space
Sharon Christa Corrigan was born on September 2, 1948, in Boston. She was a New Hampshire high school social studies teacher. In 1985, McAuliffe was chosen by NASA for their Teacher in Space Project. Unfortunately, Sharon never reached space and died tragically in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986.