Svetlana Savitskaya

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Svetlana Savitskaya
1983 CPA 5375 (1).jpg
Nationality Soviet / Russian
Born (1948-08-08) August 8, 1948 (age 68)
Moscow, Soviet Union
Other names
Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya
Other occupation
Flight engineer
Time in space
19 days 17 hours 06 minutes
Selection 1980 (Female Group 2)
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
3 hours 35 minutes

Salyut 7-EP2 (Soyuz T-7 up, Soyuz T-5 down),

Salyut 7-EP4 (Soyuz T-12)
Mission insignia
Salyut program insignia.svg
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union Hero of the Soviet Union
Savitskaya on Soyuz T-12, and her spacewalk

Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya (Russian: Светла́на Евге́ньевна Сави́цкая; born August 8, 1948) is a retired Soviet aviator and cosmonaut who flew aboard Soyuz T-7 in 1982, becoming the second woman in space. On her 1984 mission she became the first woman to fly to space twice, and the first woman to perform a spacewalk.


Daughter of Soviet military commander Yevgeniy Savitskiy, Svetlana started her aerospace career as a test and sports pilot. Starting from 1974 she set 18 international world records on MiG aircraft and three records in team parachute jumping. She won first place at the 6th FAI World Aerobatic Championship in 1970. She started training as a cosmonaut in 1980.

In 1982, Savitskaya flew to space as part of the Soyuz T-7 mission, alongside Leonid Popov and Aleksandr Serebrov, becoming the second woman to fly to space, some 19 years after Valentina Tereshkova. On her second spaceflight, on July 25, 1984 she also became the first woman to perform a space walk. She conducted an EVA outside the Salyut 7 space station for 3 hours and 35 minutes during which she cut and welded metals in space along with her colleague Vladimir Dzhanibekov.[1][2] Of the 57 Soviet/Russian spacewalkers through 2010, she is the only female.

In 1995, Savitskaya gave an interview to Baltimore Sun journalist Clara Germani. She recalled encountering some sexism from her male crewmates and that upon entering Salyut 7 for the first time, Valentin Lebedev presented her with an apron and told her "to get to work". She stated that "I was quickly able to establish a working, professional relationship with them."

Savitskaya recalled that, during her second mission, she expressed concern about the extravehicular welding exercises, as "I did not understand the point of it. We might burn our spacesuits or the exterior of the station." but her overall excellent performance on both flights silenced critics who questioned a female's capability to perform space missions.[3]

Upon returning to Earth, Savitskaya was assigned as the commander of an all-female Soyuz crew to Salyut 7 in commemoration of the International Women's Day, a mission that was later canceled. She was twice awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union title. The asteroid 4118 Sveta is named for her.[4]

Savitskaya is married, with one child, a son born in 1986.[5]

A committed communist, Savitskaya did not welcome the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, telling Clara Germani that everything her parents had worked hard to build was destroyed almost overnight and she was "glad they did not live to see it".[6]

Savitskaya retired in 1993 from the Russian Air Force with the rank of Major. In 1996, she was elected a member of the State Duma representing the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, and was re-elected four times since then. She presently serves as Deputy Chair of the Committee on Defense, and is also a member of the Coordination council presidium of the National Patriotic Union.[7]

Honours and awards[edit]

Savitskaya was one of five cosmonauts selected to raise the Russian flag at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.[8]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]