Vostok 6

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Vostok 6
Operator OKB-1
COSPAR ID 1963-023A
SATCAT № 595
Mission duration 2 days, 22 hours, 50 minutes
Orbits completed 48
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft Vostok-3KA No.8
Manufacturer OKB-1
Launch mass 4,713 kilograms (10,390 lb)
Crew size 1
Members Valentina Tereshkova
Callsign Чайка (Chayka - "Seagull")
Start of mission
Launch date 16 June 1963, 09:29:52 (1963-06-16UTC09:29:52Z) UTC
Rocket Vostok-K 8K72K
Launch site Baikonur 1/5[1]
End of mission
Landing date 19 June 1963, 08:20 (1963-06-19UTC08:21Z) UTC
Landing site 53°12′34″N 80°48′14″E / 53.209375°N 80.80395°E / 53.209375; 80.80395[2]
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Perigee 180 kilometres (110 mi)
Apogee 231 kilometres (144 mi)
Inclination 64.9 degrees
Period 87.8 minutes

Vostok 5-6 mission patch.svg RIAN archive 612748 Valentina Tereshkova.jpg
Valentina Tereshkova, first female cosmonaut, Hero of the Soviet Union, 1969.

Vostok Program
Manned flights
← Vostok 5

Vostok 6 (Russian: Восток-6, Orient 6 or East 6) was the first human spaceflight mission to carry a woman, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, into space.


The spacecraft was launched on June 16, 1963. While Vostok 5 had been delayed by technical problems, Vostok 6's launch proceeded perfectly with no difficulties at all. Data was collected on the female body's reaction to spaceflight. Like other cosmonauts on Vostok missions, she maintained a flight log, took photographs, and manually oriented the spacecraft. Her photographs of the horizon from space were later used to identify aerosol layers within the atmosphere. The mission, a joint flight with Vostok 5, was originally conceived as being a joint mission with two Vostoks each carrying a female cosmonaut, but this changed as the Vostok program experienced cutbacks as a precursor to the retooling of the program into the Voskhod program. Vostok 6 was the last flight of a Vostok 3KA spacecraft.

There were several attempts by ground controllers to communicate with Tereshkova that met with no response. It is unclear if she was paralyzed by fear or if an equipment malfunction happened.

It was revealed in 2004 that an error in the control program made the spaceship ascend from orbit instead of descending. Tereshkova noticed the fault on the first day of the flight and reported it to spaceship designer Sergey Korolev. The team on Earth provided Tereshkova with new data to enter into the descent program which corrected the problem.[3] By request of Korolev, Tereshkova kept the problem secret for dozens of years. “I kept silent, but Evgeny Vasilievich decided to make it public. So, I can easily talk about it now.”[3]

The intended landing site was the Pavinskiy Collective Farm west of Bayevo in the Altai Region. After parachuting from the capsule, Tereshkova barely missed a lake because of high winds. Upon landing, the wind took her parachute and she received a large bruise on her nose before she managed to free herself from it. Ignoring doctors' orders, she started voraciously consuming the spacecraft's food supply because "I had had almost no appetite the entire three days of the flight." After recovery crews located Tereshkova, she contacted Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev on the phone to inform him of the mission's successful conclusion.

The Vostok 6 landing site coordinates are 53°12′34″N 80°48′14″E / 53.209375°N 80.80395°E / 53.209375; 80.80395, which is 200 km West of Barnaul, Region of Altai in the Russian Federation and 7 km south of Baevo, and 650 km North East of Karagandy, Kazakhstan. At the site, in a small park at the roadside, is a gleaming silver statue of Tereshkova soaring upward, with arms outstretched, at the top of a curved column. The statue is wearing a spacesuit without a helmet.[4]

The capsule is now on display at the RKK Energia Museum in Korolyov (near Moscow).

This was the final Vostok flight.


Position Cosmonaut
Pilot Valentina Tereshkova
First spaceflight

Backup crew[edit]

Position Cosmonaut
Pilot Irina Solovyova

Reserve crew[edit]

Position Cosmonaut
Pilot Valentina Ponomaryova

Vostok VI

Mission parameters[edit]

Women in space[edit]

On 19 August 1982, Svetlana Savitskaya aboard Soyuz T-7, headed for Salyut 7, succeeded Valentina Tereskhova, as the second woman in space, on a 3-man mission, 19 years and two months after Vostok 6.

On 18 June 1983, during the 20th anniversary of Vostok 6's orbits, Sally Ride aboard OV-099 Space Shuttle Challenger for mission STS-7, became the third woman in space, and first non-Soviet woman, and first American woman, on a 5-man mission.

On 16 June 2012, the 49th anniversary of the launch of Vostok 6, the People's Republic of China launched its first female Taikonaut, Liu Yang, aboard Shenzhou 9, on a 3-man mission.[5]

On 16 June 2013, the 50th anniversary of the launch of Vostok 6, two women were in space, Wang Yaping, aboard Tiangong-1 on the 3-man Shenzhou 10 mission, and Karen Nyberg on the 6-man Expedition 36 aboard the International Space Station.[6]


  1. ^ "Baikonur LC1". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  2. ^ "Google Maps - Vostok 6 Landing Site - Monument Location". Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  3. ^ a b "World First Woman Cosmonaut Speaks About Error of Vostok Designers". Kommersant. 2 March 2007. Archived from the original on 4 March 2007. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  4. ^ "Google Maps - Vostok 6 Landing Site - Monument Photo closeup". Retrieved 2010-12-26. 
  5. ^ Clara Moskowit (15 June 2012). "China Unveils Astronaut Crew, 1st Female Spaceflyer, for Saturday Launch". Space.com. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Ken Kremer (16 June 2013). "Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova; 1st Woman in Space 50 Years Ago! Ready for Mars". Universe Today.