Even though the former Soviet Union was the first one to sent a woman in space back in June 16, 1963, why is it that it took the United States 20 years to send the first American woman astronaut into space?
By: Ringo Bones
Asking such a question - then and now – could allow you to be ostracized by your conservative right-wing pals, but many curious folks still wonder until this day why it took 20 years for the “Christian Capitalist West” to send its first woman astronaut into space? But first, here’s a brief history why Valentina Tereshkova is probably the unlikeliest prospect to be planet Earth’s first woman space traveler.
Originally worked as a mill hand, Valentina Tereshkova’s potential as a prospective cosmonaut for the then Soviet Union’s manned space program was discovered during her military service where she had an innate talent as a skydiver / parachutist. In June 1963, the then 26 year old Valentina Tereshkova made 48 orbits in the Vostok VI capsule with fellow cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky. Tereshkova later married fellow cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev. As Tereshkova went into orbit, her now largely forgotten radio message to Baikonour Kosmodrome was translated into English for the American audience and it goes: “This is Seagull. I feel fine and cheerful. I see the horizon. A pale blue, blue stripe. It’s the Earth. How beautiful it is.” Valentina Tereshkova is also one of the few pilots in the former Soviet Union who managed to fly the MiG-29 Foxbat above 100,000 feet.
Despite of the women’s liberation movement in the latter have of the 1960s and gained full-force during the 1970s, many still wonder why it took NASA 20 years to send America’s first woman astronaut, Sally Ride, as the United States answer to Valentina Tereshkova. Is it that White Anglo Saxon Protestantism treats women as just another ethnic minority that’s inferior to the white-Anglo-Saxon male?