World Space Week and 50 Years of Women in Space
This week we celebrate the fact that on 16 June 1963 Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space. The United Nations COPUOS organized a special “Women in Space” panel during its meetings in Vienna this week. World Space Week is a permanent observer to these meetings, so we were able to attend this historic panel.
The panel consisted of eminent women in the space-related fields of space exploration, science, technology, applications, business, policy and law, including women space pioneers from Argentina, Canada, China, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Russia, the United States and the European Space Agency.
“A bird cannot fly with one wing only. Human space flight cannot develop any further without the active participation of women,” Valentina Tereshkova said, encouraging more women to take part in space programmes. These passionate statements by the panelists are a perfect example to children around the world, inspiring them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering in math.
The World Space Week Association Executive Director had the honour to meet the first Chinese woman in space. Liu Yang was a crew member of the 2012 Shenzhou-9 mission, the first crew to visit the Tiangong-1 “Heavenly Palace” space station. Her clear passion for space exploration is yet another example that excitement for space is universal, regardless of gender or nationality. Space is a global human endeavor, with heroes all around the world.
More information about the UN-organized events around 50 years of women in space can be found here.