Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Last updated:22 April 2015

Valentina Tereshkova, first woman in space

It is 50 years since Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to go into space.

She set off in Vostok 6 on Sunday 16 June 1963 and landed three days later, after 48 orbits of the earth. (Valery Bykovsky in Vostok 5 had gone the day before).

Valentina Tereshkova

On Saturday 23 June she was given a hero's welcome in Red Square and the Kremlin. On the Monday she attended the opening day of the World Congress of Women, along with Nikita Kruschev.

In the Soviet Union at the same time was a British Communist Party women's delegation, the first to visit Siberia (going to Irkutsk and Novosibirsk). They cut short their visit to Leningrad, travelling to Moscow by train overnight, to attend the Kremlin reception.

On the Wednesday they met Valentina, Valery and Yuri Gagarin at a party restaurant in Moscow, where the picture was taken. Valentina is holding the bouquet.

The delegation included Ivy Woods, an active co-operator and the subject of a WCML International Women's Day talk in 2008, and Beryl Huffinley (Leeds Trades Council and National Assembly of Women) who has supplied all the names of those present.

In the Daily Worker on 18 June Rosemary Small reviewed the mixed reactions of the Press, and quoted Barbara Castle saying "Valentina's achievements could hardly happen here - women are held back in our society".

June 2013

Click here for information about Yuri Gagarin's visit to Manchester

Comment on this page

Cannot read text? Show another

Comments are moderated before publication