Fifty one years ago today, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space. As a Russian cosmonaut, she flew solo aboard Vostok 6. After spending three days in orbit, she then parachuted to ground after ejecting at 20,000 feet during re-entry. Upon her safe return, Ms. Tereshkova was awarded the Order of Lenin, and named Hero of the Soviet Union.
It wasn’t until 20 years later that the US sent their first female astronaut to space.