Valentina Tereshkova’s historic flight into space was riddled with controversy, as the government saw her mission as the perfect opportunity for propaganda-related actions. For instance, when the female cosmonauts arrived at the cosmodrome for the flight, they were wearing military attire, but because their arrival was to be filmed, they were instructed to change into civilian skirts and blouses for this purpose. Valentina would also face controversy during and after her space adventures.
1. June 16th, 1963 marked the day when Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space. She was traveling aboard the Vostok 6.
2. After the fall of the Soviet Union, a handful of influential space program personnel published their memoirs, which included facts of Valentina’s flight that were not revealed at the time of her accomplishment. They stated various issues that had taken place during her flight , many of which were not confirmed or denied by Tereshkova until 2007.
3. Originally, Korolev expressed unhappiness with Valentina’s performance in orbit. It was said that she was not allowed to take manual control of the spacecraft , something that had already been planned. Other claims stated that Valentina was not psychologically fit to participate in the flight mission. The debate about her performance and credibility reached new depths of controversy when it was stated that an official actually attempted to insert a paragraph in an official press release that stated Valentina displayed a poor emotional state during her time in space.
4. During her first day in space, Valentina was given a couple of tasks to complete. The extension of her flight for a second and third day saw her doing nothing. On top of this, the ground command did nothing to provide support for her during these extra days. Officials tried to claim that she encountered strong emotions, tiredness, and was not able to work towards completing all of her assignments. Kamanin noted that she was never tired and did all she could to satisfy the requirements of her flight program.
5. During her flight, Valentina experienced issues regarding the automatic orientation system of her Vostok capsule, which could have caused her death if the problem was not corrected. At first, the ground control team did not believe Valentina when she alerted them to the issue. It is believed that her delayed her return to earth had something to do with readjusting her spacecraft.
6. Valentina vomited while in space, which prompted Korolev to want to bring her down early. However, Valentina reassured ground control that it was not because she was experiencing space-sickness, but was not reacting well to the quality of space food.
7. Upon her ejection from the capsule, Valentina noticed that she was well on her way to experiencing a splashdown into a large lake. Since she was completely dehydrated, tired, and hungry from the flight, she didn’t think she would have enough strength to swim to the shore. However, a Guardian angel must have been on her side because a high wind blew her to shore. In the end, she suffered a heavy landing nonetheless.