Vostok 6

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Vostok 6
Vostok 6 capsule on display, 2016.jpg
The Vostok 6 capsule in a museum display (2016)
Operator Soviet space program
COSPAR ID 1963-023A
SATCAT no. 595
Mission duration 2 days, 22 hours, 50 minutes
Orbits completed 48
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft Vostok-3KA No.8
Manufacturer Experimental Design Bureau 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 6 (Russian: Восток-6, Orient 6 or East 6) was the first human spaceflight to carry a woman, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, into space.[3]


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 collected during the mission was to allow better understanding of 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.

The Soviet state television network broadcast live video of Tereshkova from a television camera inside the capsule, and she conversed with Premier Nikita Khrushchev over the radio. Communications with ground controllers about her overall health were described in postflight reports as "evasive", and later official accounts of the mission had somewhat condescending remarks about Tereshkova's overall in-flight performance.

Radio Moscow announces the historic flight of Tereshkova

In Tereshkova's account of the mission in her postflight debriefing, she mentioned having assorted body pains and difficulty with her helmet headset (also reported by Bykovsky on Vostok 5). She vomited while attempting to eat, although she attributed this to the taste of the food rather than her physical condition.[4]

An official history of the Soviet manned space program published in 1973 described Tereshkova's physical condition and in-flight performance as "udovletvoritelnoe" (adequate) rather than "otlichno" (good or outstanding).

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.[5] 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."[5]

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.[6]

The capsule is now on display at the RKK Energia Museum in Korolyov (near Moscow). From September 2015 it forms part of the content of the "Cosmonauts" exhibition at the Science Museum, London. The Exhibition features many iconic objects from the Soviet space program.

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

Mission parameters[edit]


  1. ^ "Baikonur LC1". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  2. ^ "Google Maps - Vostok 6 Landing Site - Monument Location". Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  3. ^ "1963: Soviets launch first woman into space". BBC. 1963-06-16. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  4. ^ "Vostok 6". www.astronautix.com. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ "Google Maps - Vostok 6 Landing Site - Monument Photo closeup". Retrieved 2010-12-26.