June 16 is a remarkable day in space history. The first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, marks fifty years of her historic flight. This Russian woman was not only the first woman to fly in space – she remains the only woman ever to have made a solo space flight. During that Cold War era her flight preparation was a huge state secret. Valentina Tereshkova was not allowed to confide even in family members, who only learned of her exploit when Moscow announced it to the entire world. No internet, wikileaks, blog posts, Instagram, or Facebook pages existed at that time, which is hard to imagine nowadays. Today we can find out information about Valentina Tereshkova’s space mission from various information sources posted online. No need to go to the library or inquire from the archives. Unless you want to learn something really, really specific.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield from Ontario became a social media superstar and probably the world’s most famous Canadian. During his 146-day mission, on Twitter, his breathtaking images of Earth from an orbit 250 miles above the planet — along with poetic descriptions of the various locales — created a cult-like following of more than 1 million Twitter followers from around the globe. Today this Canadian astronaut who became an Internet sensation aboard the International Space Station is hanging up his spacesuit. He announced his retirement.
What shall we expect from the next space flights? How will the astronauts share their “status” with us and “update their locations”? It’s fun to guess and wait for new sensations.