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    Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova inside Vostok spacecraft simulator.

    NASA Astronaut Stott Sends Birthday Video Message to Tereshkova (VIDEO)

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    NASA Astronaut Nicole Stott sent a video message to Valentina Tereshkova congratulating the first woman in space on her 80th birthday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — NASA Astronaut Nicole Stott sent a video message to Valentina Tereshkova congratulating the first woman in space on her 80th birthday.

    “You are a source of inspiration for young women, and for everyone in the world. You were and continue to be a source of inspiration for me,” Stott said in a video. “Thank you for your help to everyone to dream big and reach the stars. With sincere gratitude and admiration, I wish you a Happy Birthday! I wish you health and happiness!”

    Tereshkova was the first woman to fly into space, piloting the Vostok 6 spacecraft in June 1963 and spending three days in orbit. It was two years after Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.

    Valentina Tereshkova before lift-off
    © Sputnik / RIA Novosti
    Valentina Tereshkova before lift-off

    Tereshkova is one of only four female Russian cosmonauts to have taken part in a space mission, compared with more than 50 in the United States.

    She was part of a small team of women assembled by the Soviet authorities as potential astronauts in the wake of the first manned space flight by Yury Gagarin in 1961, but she was the only one who actually went into space. The next Russian woman to do so, Svetlana Savitskaya, blasted off 19 years later, in 1982.

    Tereshkova’s flight aboard the Vostok 6 spacecraft lasted for almost three days, specifically two days, 22 hours and 50 minutes. She orbited the Earth 48 times. Tereshkova was 26 years old at the time.

    Tereshkova never made a second trip into space but has said that she would like to one day fly to Mars, her favorite planet, even if it meant a one-way trip.

    Tereshkova has a crater on the far side of the moon named after her.

    Nowadays, Tereshkova is a member of the State Duma. She was one of the initiators to establish the Russian Cultural Center in Washington, DC, and was personally involved in the opening ceremony.

    Stott, who worked with NASA for 27 years, spent 104 days in space on both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). She performed one spacewalk, was the first person to fly the robotic arm to capture the free flying HTV cargo vehicle, and was the last crew member to fly to and from their ISS mission on a Space Shuttle.

    NASA astronaut Nicole Stott. File photo
    © AP Photo / Damian Dovarganes
    NASA astronaut Nicole Stott. File photo

    Stott served as a Flight Engineer on ISS Expedition 20 (the first time a six-member crew lived and worked aboard the station) and Expedition 21. Moreover, she was a Mission Specialist on STS-128 and STS-133 (the final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery).

    space, NASA, Nicole Stott, Valentina Tereshkova
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