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Valentina Tereshkova
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Astronaut
    (March 6, 1937- )
    Became the first woman in space on Vostok 6 (June 16-19, 1963)
    She was chosen over four other female candidates primarily for propaganda purposes: she had a proletarian background and her father had died fighting Nazi Germany in World War II.
    The deputy director of the Soviet space program said she was ‘on the edge of psychological instability' during her flight.
    She was not allowed to take manual control of the spacecraft as originally planned.
    She reportedly handed out her space rations to onlookers at her landing site to hide that she did not eat the recommended amount during her flight.
    She beat America's Sally Ride to space by 20 years.
    The three days she spent in space exceeded the combined flight times of all American astronauts at the time.
    A crater on the moon was named after her.
    She was named ‘Greatest Woman Achiever of the Century' by the International Women of the Year Association (2000).

Credit: C. Fishel


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