Valentina Tereshkova was born on March 6, 1937. Her father was a tractor driver. Valentina's mother worked in a textile plant.
Valentina started school in 1945 when she was eight years old. She left school to begin working in a textile plant in 1953. She was able to continue her education through correspondence courses.
Valentina became interested in parachute jumping when she was young. Her parachute jumping was one of the reasons she was picked for the cosmonaut program.
On June 16,1963 Valentina Tereshkova was launched into space aboard Vostok 6. She became the first woman to travel in space. Valentina Tereshkova made 48 orbits of Earth. She spent almost three days in space.
In November of 1963, Valentina Tereshkova married Andrian Nikolayev. He was also a cosmonaut. Their daughter, Elena, was born in 1964. Elena was the first child born to a mother and a father who had both traveled in space.
Valentina Tereshkova never made a second trip into space. She became an important member of the Communist Party and a representative of the Soviet government.