01:30 looped video (with audio)
At 9:30 GMT on June 16th 1963, the spacecraft Vostok 6 was launched with 26-year old cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova aboard. Orbiting the earth forty-eight times during her three-day voyage, she logged more flight time than the combined times of all the other astronauts who had flown before that date. It would take Americans twenty more years to send their first woman into space, Sally Ride, and thirty years to send Canadian Roberta Bondar. Nowadays, we take space flight for granted, but early voyages like Tereshkova’s were untried experiments and extremely dangerous feats.
There are conflicting accounts of Tereshkova’s days in space: Soviet ground control maintained that she was “emotionally unstable.” Confined to her seat for the entire voyage, Tereshkova recounted that she experienced nausea, physical discomfort and hunger during much of the journey. According to a wikipedia entry, “she maintained a flight log and photographed the horizon, which were the first such images to identify aerosol layers within the atmosphere.”
Taking a ten-second section from a documentary about the US-Soviet “space race,” I salvaged and extended the footage, and added audio to it. My one-minute video uses this rare Soviet television footage of Tereshkova to encapsulate this once heroic, and now somewhat quaint moment in history. Tereshkova’s call sign was chaika, (seagull). Her voice calls out unanswered by ground control.