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Answered 2011-04-25 14:05:36

1963: First woman in space, first woman in orbit - USSR cosmonaut Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova [also Valentina Tereshkova] was not only the first woman in orbit, but also the first ordinary person in space. She was a textile mill worker who enjoyed the hobby of parachute jumping when she was picked for a class of women to train for spaceflight. USSR Premier Nikita Khrushchev wanted a spectacular, so, by age 25, Tereshkova was a cosmonaut. She spent 71 hours orbiting Earth 48 times in June 1963 in her capsule Sea Gull. Following Yuri Gagarin as the first man in space in 1961, Tereshkova's 1963 flight brought additional prestige to the Soviet Union and what then appeared to be the dominant space program.

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