Human beings have always been intrigued by what is there beyond earth. They have travelled to the space, set foot on the moon and probably in the near future, will also land on moon. History has also witnessed many women who have done the same, just as their male counterparts. So far, 59 women have flown to space. But who among them, did it first. Let’s find out!
The following is a list of 10 women who have traveled into space, sorted by date of first flight. Although the first woman flew into space in 1963, very early in crewed space exploration, it would not be until almost twenty years later that another flew.
Top 10 Women in Space – First Female Astronauts:
10. Mary L. Cleave
American engineer and a former NASA astronaut Mary L. Cleave became the tenth woman in space on 26th November, 1985 while aboard the STS-61-B. Her second spaceflight came on 4t May, 1989, with STS-30. She was Mission Specialist for both her space-missions. She spent a total of 10 days, 22 hours and 2 minutes in space. She was born on 5th February, 1947, and is presently 67 years old.
9. Bonnie J. Dunbar
The ninth woman in space – 65 year old American former NASA astronaut Bonnie J. Dunbar. She first flew to the space with STS-61-A on 30th October, 1985. Her next four spaceflights were in STS-32 (9th January, 1990), STS-50 (25h June, 1992), STS-71 (27th June, 1995) and STS-89 (22nd January, 1998).She was the Mission Specialist for all the five spaceflights. Her total time in space stands at 50 days, 8 hours and 24 minutes. She was born on 3rd March, 1949.
8. Shannon Lucid
72 year old American biochemist and a retired NASA astronaut Shannon Lucid comes at No.8. Throughout her lifetime Shannon held many records. Apart from being the eighth woman on space, which she did on 17th June, 1985 while aboard STS-51-G; she was the first American woman to fly on a space station, first Chinese-born woman in space and also is the first woman to make a third, a fourth and a fifth spaceflight. At one time, she held the record for the longest duration stay in space by an American, as well as by a woman. Her next four spaceflights were STS-34 (18th October, 1989), STS-43 (2nd August, 1991), STS-58 (18th October, 1993) and STS-76/79 (22nd March, 1996). Her total time spent in space is 223 days 2 hours and 50 minutes. She was the Mission Specialist for all the five spaceflights.
7. Margaret Rhea Seddon
Physician and retired NASA astronaut Margaret Rhea Seddon became the seventh woman fly to space on 12th April, 1985 when she was on board STS-51-D. Her next two spaceflights were with STS-40 and STS-58 on 5th June, 1991 and 18th October, 1993. She was the Mission Specialist for the first two spaeflights whereas for the third spaceflight, she was the Payload Commander. 67 year old Margaret was born on 8th November, 1947. Her total time in space is 30 days, 2 hours and 21 minutes.
6. Anna Lee Fisher
First mother in space. On 8th November, 1984, Anna Lee Fisher became the sixth woman fly to space as part of the spaceflight STS-51-A, where she was a Mission Specialist. The American chemist, emergency physician, and NASA astronaut also holds the distinction of being the first mother to fly to space. Her space mission’s time duration was7 days, 23 hours, 44 minutes, 56 seconds.
5. Kathryn D. Sullivan
Kathryn D. Sullivan – The fifth woman in space, is an American geologist and a former NASA astronaut. Her first space mission was aboard the STS-41-G on 5th October, 1984. Her second space mission was with STS-31 on 24th April, 1990 and her third space mission was aboard STS-45 on 24th March, 1992. In all of the three spaceflights, she was the Mission Specialist. Her cumulative time spent in space is 22 days 04 hours 49 minutes. Kathryn was born on 3rd October, 1951 and is presently 63 years old.
4. Judith Resnik
The fourth woman in space also happens to be the first Jewish-American woman in space. American engineer and a NASA astronaut Judith Resnik’s first space mission was launched on 30th August 1984 with her being the third mission specialist of STS-41-D. It had a duration of 6 days, 56 minutes, 5 seconds. Her second space mission was aboard the STS-51-L on 28th January, 1986, but in a catastrophic event, with the destruction of Space Shuttle Challenger after 73 seconds of lift-off. It led to the death of all the seven crews, Judith was the second mission specialist of the mission. At the time of her death, she was only 36 years old. She was born on 5th April, 1949. She is also the first woman to die in space or in a spaceflight.
3. Sally Ride
First American woman in space. The third woman in space was also the first American woman in space. American physicist and astronaut Sally Ride flew aboard STS-7 as second mission specialist. Her space-time lasted for 6 days, 2 hours, 23 minutes, 59 seconds. A year later, she again flew aboard STS-41-G as second mission specialist again. This time, her space-time lasted for 8 days, 5 hours, 23 minutes, 33 seconds. She was born on 26th May, 1951. After suffering from pancreatic cancer for seventeen months since it was diagnosed, Sally passed away on 23rd July, 2012 at the age of 61.
2. Svetlana Savitskaya
The second woman in space was former Soviet aviator and cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, when she flew aboard Soyuz T-7 on 19th August, 1982. It landed on earth on 10th December of that year, giving Svetlana a total space-time of 113 days, 1 hour, 50 minutes and 44 seconds. She was the Research cosmonaut of the mission. She also was the first woman to fly on a space station Two years later, on 17th July, 1984, she became the first woman to fly to the space twice when she was part of the crew of Soyuz T-12 as flight engineer. This time, her stay in the space lasted for 11 days, 19 hours, 14 minutes and 36 seconds. During this time, she also became the first woman to perform a spacewalk. Born on 8th august, 1948, Svetlana presently is 66 years old.
1. Valentina Tereshkova
First woman in space. Soviet cosmonaut and engineer Valentina Tereshkova created history on 16th June, 1963, when she became the first woman to have been flown to space. She was selected out of more than 00 applicants to pilot Vostok 6. The spaceflight landed on earth on 19th June, 1963, giving Valentina a total space-time of 2 days, 23 hours and 12 minutes. At the time of the mission, Valentina was just 26 years old, one of the youngest space travellers. She was pilot of the mission. In order to join the Cosmonaut Corps, Tereshkova was only honorarily inducted into the Soviet Air Force and thus she also became the first civilian to fly in space. Valentina presently is 77 years old having born on 6th March, 1937.