“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”,
Neil Amstrong’s famous words just after stepping onto the moon’s surface. Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969.
Armstrong died on 25th August 2012, aged 82years.
We have yet to see the first woman land on the Moon, the last time man walked on the moon was in 1972. To date, out of 525 total space travelers, 56 women have flown in space.
Last June 2012 United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Concludes 55th Session in Vienna agreed to commemorate in 2013 the fiftieth anniversary of the first space flight by a woman, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova on 16 June 1963, with a special panel consisting of prominent women in the space-related fields of space exploration, science, technology, education, business and policy to address the contribution of women to space activities on the topic "Space: building the future today".
Listed below are names of some of the courageous and extraordinary women who risk their lives to fly in space for the purposes of advancement of science and technology;
Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova at the age of 26 years and 3 months, was the first woman and the first civilian to fly in space (1963). During the three-day mission, she performed various tests on herself to collect data on the female body's reaction to spaceflight.
It wasn't until 1982 that the next woman flew in space.
Dr. Sally Ride was 32 years old when in 1983 she became the first American woman to fly to space alongside four other crew members. A year after her first voyage she successfully returned to space in the same shuttle for an eight-day mission.
Dr. Ride died on July 23, 2012 of pancreatic cancer.
On July 25, 1984, Salyut 7 cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to perform a space walk and the second woman in space (Aug. 19, 1982) 19 years after Valentina Tereshkova.
After graduation Svetlana pursued a career as a pilot. By 1972, she was licensed to fly an amazing 20 different types of aircraft. She set world records in supersonic and turbo-prop aircraft. Svetlana set the record as the first female to fly 2,683 km/hr in a MiG-21.
Christa McAuliffe was a Social Studies teacher from Concord High School, New Hampshire on board the 1986 ill-fated space shuttle “USS Challenger” that exploded only 73 seconds after lift-off.
The Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, opened in 1990 in Concord, New Hampshire, carries on her vision of educating students of all ages about astronomy and space science.
Helen Patricia Sharman was the first Briton in space, first woman to visit the Mir space station aboard Soyuz TM-12 in 1991.
Sharman's tasks included medical and agricultural tests, photographing the British Isles, and participating in an amateur radio hookup with British schoolchildren.
Roberta Lynn Bondar is Canada's first female astronaut and the first neurologist in space. Bondar flew on the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery during Mission STS-42, 1992, during which she performed experiments in the Spacelab.
Ellen Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman in the world to go to space aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993.
A veteran of four space flights (1993, 1994, 1999, 2002), Dr. Ochoa has logged over 978 hours in space.
Chiaki Mukai is the first Japanese woman to fly in space, and the first Japanese citizen to fly twice. She flew aboard STS-65 in 1994 and STS-95 in 1998.
Mukai has logged over 566 hours in space.
Eileen Collins was first woman to pilot a space shuttle in 1995 and in 1999 became the first woman to command a space shuttle.
During STS-114, Collins became the first astronaut to fly the Space Shuttle through a complete 360-degree pitch maneuver.
Claudie Haigneré, was the first Frenchwoman in space, a rheumatologist who flew to the MIR space station as an astronaut in 1996 and to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2001.
On the MIR, she performed experiments in physiology, developmental biology, fluid physics and technology.
Anousheh Ansari was the fourth overall self-funded space tourist, the first Iranian in space and the first self-funded woman to fly to the International Space Station in 2006. During her eight day on board the International Space Station, Ansari performed series of experiments on behalf of the European Space Agency.
She also became the first person to publish a weblog from space.
The mission had included both remote control and piloted dockings with the module and extensive medical monitoring of the astronauts as part of preparations for manning a permanent space station.