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Soviets Send First Woman into Space

June 16, 1963 - Junior Lieutenant Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to journey into space, was circling the earth this morning. She chatted happily with Lieutenant Colonel Valery Bykovsky, who traveled in a nearby orbit. Lieut. Tereshkova, 26, was launched today at 12:30 p.m. Moscow time (5:30 a.m. New York time) aboard the Soviet spaceship Vostok VI. Premier Khrushchev talked to her by radiotelephone as she orbited. “Now you see what women are capable of,” he said. He promised her “a worthy welcome” in Moscow after she landed. “I am very glad,” he continued, “and feel a fatherly pride that it is our girl, a girl from the land of the Soviets, who is the first in space, for the first time in the world, equipped with the most perfect technique. It is a triumph of Leninist ideas. It is a triumph of the struggle of our people, and we are proud of you.” The space woman, who was in her fourth orbit, answered: “Dear Nikita Sergeyevich! We are moved and deeply touched by your attention. Many thanks for your kind words, for your fatherly concern. I wholeheartedly thank the Soviet people for the good wishes. I assure you, dear Nikita Sergeyevich, that I will spare nothing to fulfill the assignment of the homeland.”


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