“For many people of our generation, the flight of Valentina Tereshkova to space meant no less, and perhaps even more, than the flight of Gagarin. For us, members of the first women's group of cosmonauts, this has become the crown of a lifetime. I think I will not be mistaken in saying that the period until the group existed was for us all the most dramatic, the brightest, the most significant and the most difficult. A huge number of people and events of world significance fit in it. ”
Valentina Leonidovna Ponomareva
Fifty years ago, 16 June 1963, the whole world learned that the Soviet Union had sent the Vostok-6 spacecraft into orbit with the first woman on board. Behind the stream of congratulations and pompous phrases, a lot of details and interesting facts accompanying Valentina Tereshkova's path to world popularity are completely lost. Few people know what sacrifices she had to make in order to achieve her dream ...
The sixties were a period of tough confrontation between the two superpowers, who chose a manned cosmonautics to be the place of demonstration of technical potential. Losing leadership in this area seemed unacceptable not only to the leaders of our country, but to ordinary residents. General Nikolai Kamanin, who was at the head of the preparation and conduct of space flights, said: "... Americans should not be given a single chance to outrun us, we must continue to amaze the world with our achievements in space." It was precisely these dominant moods in society that served as the main arguments for the decision to send a woman into space.
Valentina Tereshkova was born in the family of collective farmers 6 in March 1937 in the village of Maslennikovo in the Yaroslavl region. My father was a tractor driver, and my mother kept a household and worked on a collective farm. The girl's father was called to the front in 1939, when the Finnish war began, and did not return from there. After that, the mother with three children moved to Yaroslavl. Here Valya went to school. The childhood and youth of the future celebrity proceeded according to the usual scenario for millions of Soviet children. Her life was neither idle, nor secure, nor easy, she got used to difficulties, learned to overcome herself. In 1953, Valentina graduated from the seven-year-old, and already in 1954, due to a difficult financial situation in the family, she began her career at the Yaroslavl tire factory. In the evenings, Valya attended classes at an evening school for working youth. Further work activity of Tereshkova was held at the Krasny Perekop textile mill, where, in parallel with her work, she managed to complete the correspondence department of the light industry technical school at 1960. In August of the same year, Valentina became the released secretary of the Komsomol committee of the plant, and in March 1962 joined the CPSU.
Valentina was always a sports girl, was fond of parachuting, was engaged in the Yaroslavl flying club. It was here that the future cosmonaut had his first dreams about conquering the sky. Around the same period after the successful flight of Gagarin, the “father” of the Soviet cosmonautics Sergei Korolev had the idea of a pilot experiment with a woman-cosmonaut. The final decision on the creation of a female cosmonaut detachment was made in December of 1961. And at the beginning of 1962 in DOSAAF flying clubs, in the strictest secrecy, a set of challengers was announced. After a medical examination of the eight hundred people in question, according to the stated criteria of age, height and weight, only fifty-eight remained. The advantage was given to women athletes glider, aircraft, and, especially, parachuting (because the future astronaut will have to eject and land on a parachute). At the next stage, fifty-three more people were eliminated; only five women were enrolled in the cosmonaut corps: Valentina Tereshkova, Valentina Ponomareva, Zhanna Yerkina, as well as Irina Solovyova and Tatyana Kuznetsova. The authors themselves called the selection program “super complex”. Requests to the psychophysiological and biomedical parameters of the organism have not been reduced for any item for women. Only the overload on the centrifuge was reduced from twelve to ten units. Tereshkova first overcame all the tests and was a member of the cosmonaut corps from that moment until the end of April 1997. March 12 Valentine's Day 1962 is already located in the Cosmonaut Training Center, the rest of the women arrived a little later. On April 12, the “special women’s cosmonaut battalion,” as Alexey Leonov called them, was formed.
Immediately after enrollment in the space detachment, all the girls were called up for military service with the rank of privates. And besides this, during the first conversation with the selected aspirant candidates, Korolev said that in order to achieve a dream, they would have to make a choice between personal life and heaven.
The characters, inclinations, habits and life experiences of women differed from each other. However, for all their dissimilarity, they had one common quality - the desire to achieve the goal, the ability to gather all their will into a fist, to fight to the last. The period of time spent preparing the women's group for the flight was one of the most difficult in their lives. Fearing unforeseen situations and unnecessarily securing themselves, the instructors gave loads that were several times higher than the overload standards. The training program developed for men was not changed for the women's group. The pressure chamber, centrifuge, sound chamber, heat chamber, all kinds of training of the vestibular apparatus, parachute jumping, general physical training. In addition, the applicants had to repeatedly go through a number of medical examinations, some of which were not just unpleasant, and sometimes even cruel. Classes were held in training and fitness classes, women lived in a dispensary. At the same time in abbreviated form, they comprehended the course of the young fighter and crammed the statutes of the Red Army, learned to shoot straight and engaged in drill training.
Extremely difficult for the girls were training in a heat chamber, where the temperature reached seventy degrees Celsius, and humidity - thirty percent. At the same time, they were in full flight uniform. No less exhausting were occupations in zero gravity when performing a parabolic slide on an MiG-15 aircraft. Weightlessness was set four times in a forty-second flight. During this, it was necessary to perform some task - to write your name, talk on the radio, eat. And only a very courageous and purposeful person could stand for ten days in the isolation chamber with full sound insulation. There were also parachute jumps into the sea in a technological (not fitting in size) space suit.
None of the girls broke or surrendered. For their stamina and courage, men of the first composition of the astronauts called them "space Amazons." Only the squad leader, Gagarin, did not like this nickname. With his submission, the girls-cosmonauts were affectionately called "cosmic birches." Of course, at that time there were many opponents of the flight of women into space among the program managers, and among the astronauts themselves, and among people at least a little involved in aviation. However, the female group was especially patronized by Gagarin himself, carefully following the progress of their training and classes. It is possible that in his heart he felt sorry for the girls, because to whom, no matter how well he knew, what was the only preparation for the flight. During the State Examination in November 1962, as a member of the commission, he was constantly present with women, wondering if they understood everything and prompted answers if necessary.
29 November 1962 of the year, Valentina Tereshkova passed the final exams for "excellent" and 1 December 1962 became the astronaut of the First Division of the First Division. Preparing for the flight began in January 1963-th year, with the launch was scheduled for the end of March. However, at the preparatory stage, the OKB specialists encountered many problems; they had to re-develop or change chairs, suits, sanitary facilities, and many other equipment. Also, for a long time it was decided whether it would be a group flight or a solo flight. There was even an offer to send two ships with women.
It was very difficult to choose a specific candidate for the first role, because all five candidates showed themselves perfectly in preparation. Nikolai Kamanin recalled: “The main candidates were Ponomarev and Tereshkova. Tereshkova made a very good impression on everyone — a model in education and behavior. ” However, when setting priorities, taking into account not only the physical condition, but also the theoretical fitness of women, Tereshkova lagged behind Valentina Ponomareva. Nevertheless, political factors played a decisive role: Tereshkova’s social origin (from a working family, and Ponomarev from civil servants) and the death of her father in a war at a time when the girl was very young. Nikita Sergeyevich himself insisted on her candidacy, and no one dared to object to him.
An interesting fact is that for men-cosmonauts always one double was appointed, but Valentina Tereshkova had two of them - Valentina Ponomarev and Irina Solovyova. As a justification, the State Commission pointed out that the female body is worse than the load. It is worth noting that after going through many trials on a par with the main participant of the events, the doubles after Tereshkova’s flight not only did not receive any honors, but generally remained secret figures for a very long time. Although Korolev promised to organize the flight of the entire women's team in the future, his plans were disrupted by the tragic events of the death of Gagarin. And after the death of the “cosmic father”, his ideas were completely abandoned.
Careful training of female cosmonauts was not in vain. According to Korolev and other members of the State Commission who watched the piloting process, Valentina Tereshkova made a start on June 16, 1963, better than her predecessors Popovich and Nikolaev. The only “but” was that the flight was delayed for a day, and the psycho-emotional state of the astronaut, due to stress, went beyond the limits established by physicians. Even relatives of Valentina did not know what day she should start, for the sake of secrecy, she told them that she was going to jump. Family members learned about the start of the flight only from the issue. News. Like Gagarinsky "Let's go!" Valentina Tereshkova said after the start: “Sky! Take off your hat! I'm coming! ”
Despite the tough discipline, which the girls strictly adhered to, it could not do without funny incidents and emergency situations. So practically before the day of the start a hairdresser came to the town, and the girls wanted to dye their hair. Seeing Tereshkova and her understudy in a new image, with a new hair color, the program managers were horrified, because their photos had already been sent to Moscow and approved. The girls had to quickly destroy the works of the hairdresser and return to the usual form.
Although the process of preparing for the flight and the start itself went without a hitch and problems, the same cannot be said about the subsequent flight of the first female cosmonaut. The duration of Tereshkova’s stay in space was two days, twenty-two hours and fifty minutes, during which the Vostok-6 ship made forty-eight turns around our planet. Despite the trepidation of the long-awaited moment, the irresistible desire to fly and the scrupulous preparation, Valentina's well-being left much to be desired. At the communication sessions, of course, she tried not to show fatigue, but in fact she was holding out. The main problem was the cabin of the ship "Vostok". She was very close, the engineers called each other her “tin can”, the astronaut in full robe could move in it with great difficulty. And therefore, according to experts, to be in such conditions for almost three days was tantamount to a feat. Despite the constantly tormenting nausea and periodic vomiting, “The Seagull”, namely Tereshkova's call sign, was heroic, managing to keep a logbook in a similar position and take photographs according to the assignment. On the ground from the ship came the usual reports that the flight was proceeding normally.
Nausea - the body's natural reaction to the effects of weightlessness and the main problem for astronauts. The harmful effects of this factor could not be avoided by anyone. All astronauts and cosmonauts experienced it to one degree or another. Only with the help of special training can you adapt to it, weaken the impact, having developed vestibular stability on Earth. For wide publicity, this topic was considered taboo. This was bashfully silent in order not to "stain" the honor of the "uniform". If the astronaut felt the approach of a vomiting attack, he was obliged to report a conditional code to Earth: “I am watching a thunderstorm ...”. Such phrases from astronauts were not uncommon. The difficulties that Valentina Tereshkova endured weightlessness became one of the main reasons that the next appearance of a woman in space took place only nineteen years later.
Despite the successful completion of the flight, after decades it became known that Tereshkova could well not return from her space trip. To hide the truth that a mistake was made in the piloting program, Korolev himself asked her after landing. And the truth was told by one of the designers E.V. Shabarov. On the very first day of the flight, Valentina accidentally discovered that instead of data to reduce the orbit of the spacecraft, coordinates were entered to increase it. If the astronaut had not noticed the inaccuracy in time and had not corrected the data, having entered new values obtained from the MCC, then her first flight might well have ended tragically.
Along with the "Vostok-6" in the near-earth orbit there was another ship - the "Vostok-5" with Valery Bykovsky on board. Start Bykovsky passed 14 June, that is, two days earlier Tereshkova. The landing day is the same - 19 June. The flight of the “Hawk” (Bykovsky's call sign) deserves a separate story, it was rich in curiosities and serious troubles.
However, the mistakes in the preparation of the technical part did not end there. When it became necessary to manually control the landing of the ship, Valentina could not orient the ship for a long time. The reason was the incorrect installation of wires, because of which the polarity of the commands was changed and opposite to the direction of movement of the control stick. No less problematic was the landing Tereshkova after the ejection. She was in the Altai Territory in a strong wind. It was impossible to hold the dome of the parachute, and it was not possible to quickly unfasten the straps in the spacesuit that constrained the movement. In the end, Valentina was turned over several times; she hit her head quite hard on the helmet, hitting her face. She was found practically unconscious and immediately sent to the hospital. Only the next day, staged shots were taken, in which the world saw Tereshkova smiling after landing with carefully masked bruises on her face. Thus, Valentina Tereshkova became the sixth Soviet cosmonaut who had been in near-Earth space.
An interesting fact is that, despite the popularity and merit recognized by both the inhabitants of the country and the party, Tereshkova was reprimanded for violating the landing regime. The thing was that, in joy after the safe return, Valentina distributed the rest of the space supply to the local residents, and, despite medical bans, after a three-day fast, she ate the food brought by the inhabitants.
From space, "The Seagull" has returned a female legend, a female symbol. The ladies in the hairdressers asked for the same haircut, the Chaika watch appeared on the shops, a small planet was named after her, a crater on the Moon and streets in many cities. Tereshkova was invited to the Kremlin, and public associations around the world wanted to see her in their ranks.
Space flight in her life became the pinnacle with which vast life horizons were opened. Of course, there was a choice: to storm the next peak or stop, comfortably sitting in the shadow of its glory. And Tereshkova chose the road, the most suited to her character - the road of daily labor. Much of the time, Valentina Vladimirovna, in parallel with her further work in the cosmonaut detachment, began to take over social activities. A lot of trips, both in the Soviet Union and abroad, meetings with people, as well as charitable activities did not prevent her from graduating with honors in 1969 with honors from the N.Ye. Zhukovsky and get a specialty "pilot-cosmonaut engineer". Such a combination cost her enormous mental tension, because no “special” conditions were created for her. Millions of people from different countries, especially women, always greeted her with joy and love. From 1968 to 1987, Valentina Vladimirovna headed the Committee of Soviet Women, also being the vice-president of the International Democratic Women's Federation.
22 January 1969 year Tereshkova along with astronauts Leonov, Nikolayev and Beregovoy drove in the second car of the government motorcade, which was shot by junior lieutenant Viktor Ivanovich Ilyin during the unsuccessful attempt on Brezhnev. She did not suffer, but the driver of the car was killed, Beregovoy was scratched by glass fragments, and the bullet struck Nikolayev on the back.
The wedding of Valentina Tereshkova and Andriyan Nikolaev in 1963 was attended by 1-th Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU Nikita Khrushchev
After the realization of the main dream, Tereshkova was finally able to take up her personal life, the time for which she did not have at all during the intensive training and preparation in the OKP. She married cosmonaut No.3 Andriyan Nikolaev on 3 on November 1963, and soon 8 on June 1964 bore him a daughter. However, there was a catastrophic shortage of time for the family, the mass of honorary positions took all the power. Soon, family life cracked at the seams, and after the daughter reached the age of majority in the 1982 year, the Nikolayev family collapsed. The divorce of a unique couple shook many. First of all, it was not easy for them, since any serious family quarrels of the astronauts from the detachment at that time were subjected to analysis on numerous commissions. Only Nikolay Kamanin, who was well versed in people, was still 10 in November of 1963, when the family of Nikolayev and Tereshkova had just appeared, wrote in a diary: “They are too different: he is water, and she is fire. And both strong-willed, strong people, never one of them will voluntarily submit to the other. ”
In the early eighties, the first female cosmonaut met Julius Germanovich Shaposhnikov, Major General of the Medical Service, Director of the Central Research Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedics. Unfortunately, in the 1999 year, this modest and hardworking man died of cancer. Today, Valentina Tereshkova has almost no relatives left. Mom and her younger brother, Vladimir adored by her, who worked as a cameraman, have already died. For a very long time, she searched for the grave of her father, who disappeared on the Karelian Isthmus. Only due to connections in the country's Defense Ministry, Tereshkova found the means to fly around the region, managing to find a fraternal grave overgrown with forests. There, Valentina erected a monument to her father and regularly visits him.
"One should not look at life from the side, but walk with it."
30 April 1997 Valentine Valentina Tereshkova retired with the rank of Major General Aviation. She is the only woman in the Russian army in this rank. C 2011 year is a deputy of the Russian State Duma. In the baggage of the candidate of technical sciences and professor Tereshkova there are more than fifty scientific works, as well as a number of unique awards and titles. Valentina Vladimirovna is an honorary citizen of eighteen Russian and foreign cities, and on the Alley of Heroes of Space there is a bronze bust of the first woman cosmonaut.
Today, oddly enough, she still indulges in dreams of space. Mars calls his favorite planet Tereshkova and with a smile confesses to journalists that she is ready to fly there, even without the opportunity to return ...