The first woman in space was Soviet Cosmonaut
Valentina Tereshkova, who flew on Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963.
The launch site was the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is located
near the city of Tyuratam in Kazakhstan, close to the Aral Sea.
Tereshkova was 26 years old at the time.
She was a textile worker and an amateur parachutist.
Her flight lasted three days. She orbited
the earth 48 times.
Cosmonaut Valeri Bykovsky was launched
on Vostok 5 two days before Tereshkova's launch. The two spacecraft
came within three miles of each other.
Valentia Tereshkova later married fellow
cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev.
Sally Ride was the first American woman
Sally Ride flew on the Space Shuttle Challenger
STS-7 mission in June 1983. She used the shuttle's robot arm
to deploy two communication satellites. She had helped developed
this robot arm prior to its use in space. The Challenger landed
at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
She also flew on the Space Shuttle Challenger
41-G mission, which lasted from October 5 to October 13, 1984.
Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan also flew on this mission, which was
the first mission with two female astronauts. For this mission,
the Challenger landed at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
Sally Ride prepared for a third shuttle
mission. The Challenger disaster in January 1986, however, delayed
the shuttle program.
Books about Sally Ride:
The first woman to perform a space walk
was Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya in July 1984.
Dr. Kathyrn Sullivan became the first
American woman to perform a space walk. She did this on the STS-41G
Space Shuttle Challenger mission in October 1984.
Christa McAuliffe was a high school social
studies teacher from Concord, New Hampshire. She was selected
as the first teacher-in-space from a list of over 11,000 applicants.
She was selected by a NASA committee on July 18, 1985. George
Bush, who was Vice President at the time, announced that Christa
McAuliffe was NASA's unanimous choice for the position.
The Challenger launch time was January
28, 1986 at 11:38:00 AM Eastern Standard Time. The launch site
was Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Challenger exploded 73 seconds
after launch, at an altitude of about 46,000 feet. All of the
astronauts were killed.
Roberta Bondar was a payload specialist
on the Space Shuttle Discovery in January 1992. She was Canada's
first woman astronaut.
The following book discusses Dr. Roberta
Bondar's shuttle mission:
Dr. Bondar's sister, Barbara, was the
co-author of this book.
Dr. Mae C. Jemison was the first African-America
woman in space. She flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavour, on the
STS-47 mission. This mission was launched on September 12, 1992.
Dr. Jemison was born October 17, 1956,
in Decatur, Alabama. She earned a a doctorate in medicine degree
from Cornell University in 1981. She served as the Area Peace
Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa.
Mae Jemison's autobiography:
Ellen Ochoa was the first Hispanic-American
woman astronaut. She flew on the space shuttle Discovery (STS-56)
mission, launched on April 8, 1993. She used the shuttle robot
arm to deploy and capture the Spartan satellite, which was used
to study the solar corona.
Books about Ellen Ochoa:
American astronaut Shannon Lucid spent
188 days in space, returning to Earth on September 26, 1996.
She lived and worked aboard the Russian Mir space station. She
set two records in the process:
1. The longest duration for a woman in
2. The longest duration for an American in space.
Lucid's total time in space is 223 days.
This total includes her Mir mission as well as several space
Books about Shannon Lucid: