Star Trek's Nichelle "Uhura" Nichols checks out the Space Shuttle Enterprise (1977)

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/07/03/star-treks-nichelle-uhura.html

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Well, the first American woman in space. Valentina Tereshkova flew in 1963.

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True, she was the first Russian woman, and also one of the only ones: her flight was mainly a stunt to embarrass the Americans, and the Russian cosmonaut force has remained overwhelmingly male since then.

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First woman in space.

Most space flights were. As the US was also motivated to show up the USSR.

Don’t for a second diminish her flight just because she was a woman please.

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It doesn’t, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that NASA did get around to making a point of recruiting women into the space program, and Russia didn’t, and still has not. So their one-time achievement was just that, one time.

No it wasn’t. That’s not true. Are you just trolling?

It wasn’t a “one-time achievement” for the USSR. They sent the second woman into space too, and then others after.

Valentina Tereshkova wasn’t a one-off “stunt”. And even if she had been the only woman, she was still a god-damn cosmonaut successfully completing a space mission in 1963. That’s solid gold heroism and bravery, whatever side she was on, and whatever sexism was overcome to be there in the first place. If anything, it arguably means that she probably had to prove herself in ways that people like Yuri Gagarin and Neil Armstrong wouldn’t have had to, and she did.

Modern NASA has definitely been way better at sending women from a variety of nations into space. That’s great, but it doesn’t make Valentina Tereshkova less significant as a pioneer of space flight. She showed that NASA and the Russians both could have done more than they did, from the start of crewed missions.

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I love those 70s outfits in that photo. I’m sure there is a funky marketing name for them but darned if I know what it is.

Leisure Suits on most of the men. And doesn’t Gene Roddenberry look great in that photo. It’s like he’s looking away and thinking “Who knew it would come to this?”

Valentina Tereshkova 1963
Svetlana Savitskaya 1982 and 1984
Yelena V. Kondakova 1994 and 1997
Yelena Serova 2014

Paltry compared to the post Ride American contingent, but more than one.

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I too read his comment as not denigrating Ms. Tereshkova as much as a condemnation of the Soviet space programme, which saw women in space a merely a box on a checklist and not as something to be maintained. How they treated their female cosmonauts once the checkbox was checked was disgraceful.

You can condemn the Soviet program for not sending women later. And you can condemn NASA for not sending women at all in the beginning.

But no one should throw shade on when a woman actually beat back all that shit and made it to space.

Commercial airlines routinely discriminate against women pilots, today. That doesn’t mean Amelia Earhart wasn’t an amazing human being who did amazing things. Later badness is bad, but that doesn’t mean you sniff at the early heros.

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Who the heck was throwing shade on Ms. Tereshkova? Are you sure you’re not just attacking a strawman here?

yes, very paltry, maybe 2 percent of their cosmonauts. Sending women into space was just not a thing the Russians have cared about, at all.

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