Vostok 6

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Vostok 6
Vostok spacecraft.jpg
Model of the Vostok capsule with its upper stage
Operator Soviet space program
COSPAR ID 1963-023A
SATCAT № 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 Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.[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 5

Vostok 6 (Russian: Восток-6, Orient 6 or East 6) was the first human spaceflight mission 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 was collected on 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.

TV cameras inside the spacecraft broadcast live footage on the Soviet state television network of Tereshkova 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.

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 Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found., 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

Position Cosmonaut
Pilot Irina Solovyova

Reserve crew

Position Cosmonaut
Pilot Valentina Ponomaryova

Mission parameters

Women in space

On 19 August 1982, Svetlana Savitskaya aboard Soyuz T-7, headed for Salyut 7, succeeded Valentina Tereskhova, as the second woman in space, on a 3-man mission, 19 years and two months after Vostok 6.

On 18 June 1983, during the 20th anniversary of Vostok 6's orbits, Sally Ride aboard OV-099 Space Shuttle Challenger for mission STS-7, became the third woman in space, and first non-Soviet woman, and first American woman, on a 5-man mission.

On 16 June 2012, the 49th anniversary of the launch of Vostok 6, the People's Republic of China launched its first female astronaut, Liu Yang, aboard Shenzhou 9, on a 3-man mission.[7]

On 16 June 2013, the 50th anniversary of the launch of Vostok 6, two women were in space: Wang Yaping, aboard Tiangong-1 on the three-person Shenzhou 10 mission, and Karen Nyberg on the six-person Expedition 36 aboard the International Space Station.[8]


  1. "Baikonur LC1". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-03-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Google Maps - Vostok 6 Landing Site - Monument Location". Retrieved 2010-12-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "1963: Soviets launch first woman into space". BBC. 1963-06-16. Retrieved 2015-11-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Vostok 6". www.astronautix.com. Retrieved 2015-11-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Google Maps - Vostok 6 Landing Site - Monument Photo closeup". Retrieved 2010-12-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Clara Moskowit (15 June 2012). "China Unveils Astronaut Crew, 1st Female Spaceflyer, for Saturday Launch". Space.com. Retrieved 16 June 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Ken Kremer (16 June 2013). "Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova; 1st Woman in Space 50 Years Ago! Ready for Mars". Universe Today.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>