Books & Manuscripts

Flown Voice Recorder Documents the Experience of the First Woman in Space

By Sotheby's

I n 1963, the Soviet Union launched Vostok-6 into Earth’s orbit, putting the first woman into space. Selected from more than 400 applicants, 26-year-old Valentina Tereshkova was a factory worker with an enthusiasm for parachuting and became the first person ever recruited to the Soviet Space program without experience as a test pilot.

The Voice-Recorder Flown in Space Aboard Vostok-6 with Valentina Tereshkova, June 16-19, 1963. Estimate $30,000–40,000.

Accompanying Tereshkova aboard the Vostok-6 on her historic 48 orbits of the Earth was a voice recorder which was mounted to the wall of the capsule, faithfully recording all of her communication back to Earth, as well as her spoken thoughts. The voice recorder, complete with eight cassette tapes of audio from the flight, will be offered for auction on 29 November in the Space Exploration sale in New York.

Vostok-6 Rocket Model. Estimate $5,000–7,000.

Tereshkova’s days in space were seemingly not easy ones as she suffered illness and disorientation, consequently refusing to eat. Audio recordings (listen below) captured these moments in detail with Tereshkova saying at various times, “I feel sick. I am drinking. I cannot eat sweets…I just want bread and onions.” Included in the lot on offer in addition to the cassettes which have also been digitized onto eight DVDs, are typed transcripts and translations of conversations Tereshkova had with Sergei Korolev, Nikita Khrushchev, Yuri Gagarin, and many others.

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