World Space Week 2021 celebrates “Women in Space”!
Space week is a celebration of space science and technology that will improve conditions for humans on Earth.
It always starts on the 4th October because this marks the date of the launch of Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite around Earth.
On 16th June 1963, 26-year-old Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space.
On the morning of 16th June 1963, Valentina dressed in a spacesuit and headed to the launchpad. Her code name was ‘Seagull’.
After her successful launch, she sent a message to Earth, saying:
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.
Valentina spent almost three days alone in space. She is, to this day,
the only woman to have ever been on a solo space mission.
She was later named a ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ and retired from a successful Air Force career as Major General in 1997.
It was almost exactly twenty years later before the USA sent a woman into space; Sally Ride launched into space on 18th June 1983 in the space shuttle, Challenger.
Other Famous Women in Space
Helen Sharman, born 1963
First British person to go into space.
Dr Katie Bouman, born 1989
At 29 years old, she made history in working out how to take a photo of a black hole. This had been impossible up until 2019 because black holes have a strong pull of gravity – so strong that light can’t even escape!
Katherine Coleman Goble, 1918-2020
Her research on flight data and her calculations and equations controlled spacecraft from lift-off to splashdown during the 1960s.
Stephanie Wilson, born 1966
Stephanie has a degree in engineering and a Master’s in Aerospace Engineering. She is a branch chief for crew mission support, having been on three missions on a space shuttle.
Shannon Walker, born 1965
Shannon has a degree in physics and a PhD in space physics. She investigates ways of making vitamins and nutrients to make the crew’s diet in space healthier.