Russian cosmonaut-turned-lawmaker, Valentina Tereshkova, who in the early 1960s became the first woman in space, turned 80 on Monday.
Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, posted on his website that Tereshkova was a model of courage and patriotism, and praised her for the feat.
Tereshkova, now a member of Russia’s lower house of parliament, flew a solo three-day mission in June 1963, orbiting Earth nearly 50 times at the age of 26 years old at the time.
Initially a skydiving enthusiast from a modest working-class family in the central Yaroslavl region, Tereshkova was honoured with the highest national award — “Hero of the Soviet Union.”
She became a prominent member of the Communist Party during the Soviet era and now serves in the ruling United Russia party.
Kremlin Spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said “President Vladimir Putin, who recently honoured Tereshkova with an award `Merit to the Fatherland’, was set to meet her for her birthday.
“Knowing Tereshkova, we can expect her to use this possibility to discuss certain issues related to the work she continued to do.”