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Out of This World: First Woman in Space Turns 80, Colleagues Sing Her Praises

© Sputnik / V. Grevtsov / Go to the mediabankRussian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in outer space
Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in outer space - Sputnik International
The world's first female cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova, is celebrating her 80th birthday today on March 6, 2017. In light of that, her colleagues recall some memorable moments that they shared together. Sigmund Jahn, who was the first German in space, shared his story with Sputnik.

Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova inside Vostok spacecraft simulator. - Sputnik International
NASA Astronaut Stott Sends Birthday Video Message to Tereshkova (VIDEO)
“My wife, daughter and I got an apartment in Zvezdnoye on the same floor as Valentina Tereshkova's family in 1976. I was preparing for the flight on the Soyuz-31 spacecraft and one fine day, when I got home I found that our front door’s lock was jammed. I must admit that on Friday night in the USSR it was difficult to find a locksmith, although I didn’t know that back then,” recalls the German cosmonaut.

Breaking down the door, especially right before the weekend, seemed like a foolish thing to do.

“I remember that due to all the noise that I was making, a granny looked out from Tereshkova's apartment — it was Valentina's mother, she wanted to help, but the lock did not give in. I left the house and saw that the door on our balcony, by a lucky chance was ajar and there was a fire escape, it was summer so everything seemed to be going well,” the cosmonaut said.

He climbed into his apartment and tried to unlock the door from the inside but the lock did not budge. Jahn managed to help his family climb into the apartment but even after they all tried to unlock the apartment they couldn’t do it.

Just then Valentina came climbing up through their window after hearing about the situation from her mother.

“About an hour later after learning from her mother about what had happened, our neighbor, sporty and fit Tereshkova, climbed up the fire escape. She immediately assessed the situation, climbed back down and went to look for a locksmith,” Jahn said.

“It's fantastic that with Valentina’s help it was possible to find a locksmith on a Friday evening. I remember how with great difficulty he opened the lock and did not damage the door. I still remember that day, I tell my friends about it and I'm very grateful to Valetina Vladimirovna for her resourcefulness,” the cosmonaut concluded.

NASA Astronaut Nicole Stott also wished Tereshkova via a video message congratulating her and saying that she has been a source of inspiration for Stott and other young women around the world.

Valentina Tereshkova is the first female astronaut in history and the first woman in Russia with the rank of a Major-General. Currently she is serving as a Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on the federal and local level.

She is the only woman in the world to go on a space flight alone. Today, on March 6, 2017 she has turned 80 years old.

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