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Today in History: Svetlana Savitskaya Becomes the First Woman to Walk in Space

25. July 2013 by Lorena 0 Comments

On this day in 1984, cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space. She spent over three and a half hours outside the space station performing experiments with her partner Vladimir Dzhaniberkov. She spent a total of 11 days in space.


In response to a French journalist who asked what it was like in space, she said, "It feels like it is alive. Together with Dzhanibekov we took a walk in space not just for fun or recognition. Going into space and taking space walks in itself was really quite an achievement in the early days of cosmonautics. But we conducted serious experiments and were not in the mood to try to catch space sounds if there were really such sounds there."


Svetlana decided that she wanted to be a pilot when she was 16, and applied to an amateur flight school without her parents' knowledge. They rejected her application as a pilot due to her young age, but accepted her for parachute training. By the time she was 17, she had completed 450 parachute jumps. Her parents learned of her secret training when her father found a parachute knife in her school bag.


Svetlana became a well-known figure years before her spacewalk. When she was only 18, she set a world skydiving record, diving from the stratosphere and traveling 14 kilometers in free fall. She set 18 world air records and became an aerobatics world champion in 1970. As a test pilot, she would master 20 different aircrafts at speeds of up to 2700 kilometers per hour. The British press nicknamed her "Miss Sensation."


She received several awards as a pilot and cosmonaut. She also has an asteroid, 4118 Sveta, named after her.


Her second trip into space was also her last. After a safe return to the surface, she took a position at an aerospace firm. When asked about returning to space, she said, "Another flight into space is not the same as taking another flight to Paris. I have already done everything I can as a cosmonaut."


Photo: WikiCommons