The first woman in space was from Russia, from the Soviet Union. Moreover, the first two female astronauts came from: Valentina Tereshkova in 1963 and Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982. NASA waited until the space Shuttle era, before sending women into space, and Sally Ride became the first American in space only in 1983.
But since then, as the Ride broke the gender barrier of the American 35 years ago, 50 other Americans went into space. And only two women from Russia — Elena Kondakova (1994 and 1997) and Elena Serov (2014). Also for the two women flew from China, Japan, and Canada, and one each from France, India, Italy, South Korea and the UK.
How many women in space?
In the future this inequality, apparently, will only increase. In the last two classes of NASA astronauts in 2013 and 2017, nine out of the twenty selected candidates were women. In Russia in the last two classes in 2012, and 2018 was only one woman, Anna Kikin. She was subsequently expelled from the body of astronauts in 2014 for unknown reasons. After public protest it was restored, but it is unknown whether it will ever fly.
And it’s not that she’s a woman, is that Roscosmos is a list of astronauts, awaiting the first flight. None of the class of Kikunoi 2012 did not fly, as experienced cosmonauts still waiting for a second flight. Manned Soyuz launches four times per year and usually carries one astronaut. In the active body of the 29 Russian cosmonauts, and Kikin is the only woman left behind Serova.
Last week Russia announced a new set of trainee astronauts: eight people were chosen from a pool of 420 applicants. (For floor division). The competition was open to all Russians aged 35 years or younger with a degree in engineering, scientific or flying disciplines.
Why are there no women? Former cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, now Executive Director of the space programs of the Russian space Agency, said that Russian women do not particularly want to become astronauts, unlike men. “One of the key requirements for those wishing to join the team is the determination, the desire to become an astronaut,” said Krikalev. “Apparently, the percentage of women who want to become astronauts, a little lower.”