Global Event Celebrates Women Of Aviation

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For the fourth year, Women of Aviation Week Worldwide will be held during the week of March 8, which is International Women's Day. From March 4 to 10, aviators around the world will celebrate women who fly and invite women to learn more about aviation and go for a flight. Many airports and aviation museums will host open-house events especially for women and girls, and the organization also holds a photo contest and art contest. This year's event celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first spaceflight by a woman, with the theme "Women and space." Listings of events can be found at the group's website.

Valentina Tereshkova, a skydiving enthusiast, was chosen from among 400 applicants as one of five women to participate in Russia's space program. She was trained in engineering and took flying lessons, and completed another 120 parachute jumps. On June 16, 1963, she became the first woman to travel to space, aboard Vostok 6 for a three-day mission. She was alone in the small spherical spacecraft, and when it returned to the atmosphere, she parachuted back to the planet surface. Since then, 55 women have traveled in space, representing 11 percent of all astronauts around the world. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Mireille Goyer, the driving force behind Women of Aviation Week Worldwide, in October; click here to listen to that podcast.