Balashova was born in Kolomna and was educated at the Moscow Architectural Institute. Balashova began her career in 1955 at the GiproAviaProm design institute in Kuibyshev. Her work at this time involved removing decorative elements, considered "decadent", from residential buildings. In 1957, she became senior architect at OKB-1, which was responsible for design during the early days of the Soviet space program. She began by designing residences for employees but later contributed to the interior design of the Soyuz spacecraft and the Salyut and Mir space stations. Balashova also worked as a consultant for the Buran programme. She retired in 1991.
Her work with the space program included the design of interior spaces, furniture, control panels, decorative logos and murlas for interior walls. Balashova designed for a zero gravity environment, using contrasting colours for floor and ceiling so that astronauts would not become disoriented. Much of her work was little known, having once been classified as top secret.
Her design for lapel pins used at the Aerosalons exhibition in France in 1973 later became official emblem for the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project. However, the Russian government patented the design and did not give Balashova credit as author.
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