On June 16, 1963, aboard Vostok 6, Russian Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman to fly in space. From her capsule, the 26-year-old cosmonaut reported that all was going well to a Soviet television audience. After 48 orbits and 71 hours, she returned to Earth, having spent more time in space than all U.S. astronauts combined to that date.
In November 1963, she captured the public’s fancy by marrying another cosmonaut, Andrian Nikolayev. The world’s first space couple performed a number of goodwill visits to other nations in later years. The United States did not send a woman into space until twenty years later.