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  • Space Facts: Women in Space

    June 16, 1963: Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova launched into space aboard Vostok 6, becoming the first woman to travel into space.

    August 19, 1982: Nineteen years after Tereshkova's historic flight, Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the second woman to fly into space aboard Soyuz T7.

    Astronaut Sally Ride.
    Photo courtesy NASA/JSC.
    June 18, 1983: Sally Ride became the first American woman to orbit Earth aboard Space Shuttle Challenger. Ride later was appointed to the team that investigated the Challenger explosion in 1986.

    July 25, 1984: Svetlana Savitskaya flew into space again aboard Salyut 7 and became the first female to participate in a space walk.

    October 5, 1984: Kathryn Sullivan launched into space aboard Mission 41-G. During the five-day mission, Sullivan participated in a space walk, making her the first American female to do so.

    September 12, 1992: Mae Jemison ventured into space aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor. Jemison was the first African-American woman to enter space.

    February 2, 1995: Eileen Collins served as the first female Space Shuttle pilot during the STS-63 mission, the first flight of the new joint Russian-American Space Program.

    September 26, 1996: Shannon Lucid returned from six months aboard Mir, setting a space endurance record for women and a U.S. space endurance record. A veteran of five space flights, Dr. Lucid has logged 5,354 hours (223 days) in space. She holds an international record for the most flight hours in orbit by any non-Russian and holds the record for the most flight hours in orbit by any woman in the world.

    July 23, 1999: Eileen Collins became the first woman mission commander as part of the STS-93 mission. Collins will again serve as mission commander on the STS-114 mission, the Space Shuttle's return to flight.

    Astronaut Eileen Collins.
    Photo courtesy NASA/JSC.

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