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Vostok 6

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Vostok 6
The Vostok 6 capsule in a museum display (2016)
OperatorSoviet space program
COSPAR ID1963-023A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.595
Mission duration2 days, 22 hours, 50 minutes
Orbits completed48
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftVostok-3KA No.8
ManufacturerExperimental Design Bureau OKB-1
Launch mass4,713 kilograms (10,390 lb)
Crew size1
MembersValentina Tereshkova
CallsignЧайка (Chayka - "Seagull")[1]
Start of mission
Launch date16 June 1963, 09:29:52 (1963-06-16UTC09:29:52Z) UTC
RocketVostok-K 8K72K
Launch siteBaikonur 1/5[2]
End of mission
Landing date19 June 1963, 08:20 (1963-06-19UTC08:21Z) UTC
Landing site53°12′34″N 80°48′14″E / 53.209375°N 80.80395°E / 53.209375; 80.80395[3]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude164 kilometres (102 mi)
Apogee altitude212 kilometres (132 mi)
Inclination65.09 degrees
Period88.25 minutes
Epoch16 June 1963, 05:36:00 UTC[4]

Valentina Tereshkova, first female cosmonaut, Hero of the Soviet Union, 1969. 

Vostok 6 (Russian: Восток-6, Orient 6 or East 6) was the first human spaceflight to carry a woman, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, into space.[5]



The spacecraft was launched on 16 June 1963. While Vostok 5 had been delayed by technical problems, Vostok 6's launch proceeded with no difficulties. Data collected during the mission provided better understanding of the female body's reaction to spaceflight. Like other cosmonauts on Vostok missions, Tereshkova 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 and the final flight of the Vostok programme.

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, 200 km (120 mi) west of Barnaul, Altai, Russia and 7 km (4.3 mi) south of Baevo, and 650 km (400 mi) northeast of Karagandy, Kazakhstan. At the site, in a small park at the roadside is a statue of Tereshkova, with arms outstretched, at the top of a curved column.[6]

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

During flight


The Soviet state television network broadcast live video of Tereshkova from a 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 post-flight reports as "evasive", and later official accounts of the mission had somewhat condescending remarks about Tereshkova's overall in-flight performance.[7]

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.[8] Another problem was that while the Soviet space agency had provided her with food, water and tooth paste, they had forgotten to pack a toothbrush.[9]

An official history of the Soviet space program published in 1973 described Tereshkova's physical condition and in-flight performance as udovletvoritel'noe (удовлетворительное, 'fair' or 'adequate') rather than otlichno (отлично, 'good' or 'outstanding').[10]

During landing


Like all the previous Vostok flights, Tereshkova had to eject. She landed safely by parachute.

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 spacecraft designer Sergey Korolev. Flight controllers then provided Tereshkova with data to enter into the descent program.[11] By request of Korolev, Tereshkova kept the problem secret. "I kept silent, but Evgeny Vasilievich decided to make it public. So, I can easily talk about it now."[11]


Position Crew
Pilot Soviet Union Valentina Tereshkova
Only spaceflight


Position Crew
Pilot Soviet Union Irina Solovyova


Position Crew
Pilot Soviet Union Valentina Ponomaryova

Mission parameters


[citation needed]


  1. ^ Yenne, Bill (1988). The Pictorial History of World Spaceflight. Exeter. p. 27. ISBN 0-7917-0188-3.
  2. ^ "Baikonur LC1". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 2009-04-15. Retrieved 2009-03-30.
  3. ^ "Google Maps - Vostok 6 Landing Site - Monument Location". Retrieved 2010-12-25.
  4. ^ "NASA - NSSDCA - Spacecraft - Trajectory Details". nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  5. ^ "1963: Soviets launch first woman into space". BBC. 1963-06-16. Retrieved 2015-11-28.
  6. ^ "Google Maps – Vostok 6 Landing Site − Monument Photo closeup". Retrieved 2023-01-10.
  7. ^ "Tereshkova orbits the Earth aboard Vostok-6". Russian in Space. 2013. Archived from the original on 30 June 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-06.
  8. ^ "Vostok 6". www.astronautix.com. Archived from the original on 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2015-11-28.
  9. ^ Knapton, Sarah (17 September 2015). "Russia forgot to send toothbrush with first woman in space". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2016-03-24. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Tereshkova orbits the Earth aboard Vostok-6". Russian in Space. 2013. Archived from the original on 30 June 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-06.
  11. ^ 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.