Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya (1948-)

savitskaya_1_200.jpg Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya

The first Cosmonaut in space was Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, who flew a 3 day mission in Vostok 6, in 1963. She was also the world's first woman in space.

Another was Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya, who flew two short duration missions to Salyut 7: in 1982, and 1984. She was the world's first woman to fly twice in space and to make a spacewalk.

Savitskaya retired from her active cosmonaut's duty in 1993.

The third was Elena Vladimirovna Kondakova, who flew on a five month long mission to Mir in 1994-95. This was the first long-duration flight ever made by a woman. In 1997, Kondakova also flew in STS-84. This was one of many shuttle missions to Mir space station.

Kondakova is physically fit and professionally competent to fly in space again, but she has switched from space to political activities after becoming State Duma (lower chamber of the Russian parliament) deputy in 1999.

Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya

Born August 8, 1948, USSR. On August 19, 1982, she lifted off in the Soyuz #7 and landed in the Soyuz #5 on August 27, 1982 for a duration of 7 days, 21 hours, 52 minutes. On July 17, 1984 she lifted off in the Soyuz #12 and landed in the Soyuz #12 on July 29, 1984 for a duration of 11 days, 19 hours, 14 minutes.

Status: Inactive. Trained as: Cosmonaut. Profession: Engineer. Sex: Female. Birth Date: 08 August 1948. Birth City: Moscow. Birth State: Moscow. Birth Country: Russia. Nationality: Russian. Group: 1980 Female Group 2. Detachment: NPOE. Year Selected: 1980. Dated Selected: 30 July 1980. Departed: 1993. Date Departed: 27 October 1993. Number of Flights: 2. Total Time: 19.71 days. Number of EVAs: 1. Total EVA Time: 3.58 hours.


Svetlana Savitskaya's career as a cosmonaut owed much to not only her natural ability but the influence of her father. Yeveniy Savitsky, was the Deputy Commander of the Soviet Air Defences, a World War II air ace, and twice Hero of the Soviet Union. On her parents' insistence, Svetlana took up music, English, and swimming in addition to school classes. She was fond of reading, and also went in for figure skating and running.

She decided to become a pilot at age 16 and applied for training at an amateur flying school without her parent's knowledge. She was rejected due to her age for flight training but began parachute training. Her father discovered her secret when he found a parachute knife in her school bag. With her father's support she was able to try for a record stratospheric sky dive at the age of 17. She jumped from 14,252 m and fell for 14 km before opening her parachute at 500 m. By her 17th birthday in 1965 she had completed 450 parachute jumps. At age 18 she began pilot training and enrolled in the premier Soviet aviation engineering school, the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI). By age 20 she soloed in a YaK-18 trainer.

The British Press called her 'Miss Sensation' in 1970 when she became World Champion as a member of the Soviet National Aerobatics Team at the world aerobatics competition at Hullavington. By 1972 she graduated from MAI and became a flying trainer at DOSAAF (Central Technical Flying School of the USSR Voluntary Society for the Promotion of the Army, Air Force, and Navy). However she pushed to be allowed into test-pilot school. After acceptance, she went on to establish many world records in turbo-prop and supersonic aircraft, including the record of 2683 km/hr female record in a MiG-21 aircraft. She qualified as a pilot on 20 types of aircraft.

After completing her test-pilot training, and membership in the Communist Part of the Soviet Union in 1975, she became a test pilot for the Yakovlev design bureau in 1976. She was selected as a cosmonaut in 1980, as part of a female team selected to upstage pending female astronaut flights on the space shuttle. She became the second woman in space in 1982, seven months before Sally Ride became the first American female astronaut in space (see the flight log below for details of this and her subsequent flights). She also became the first woman to walk in space. Her later command of an all-female crew to Salyut 7 on the occasion of International Woman's Day was cancelled due to problems with the space station and a limited number of Soyuz T spacecraft available for docking with the station.

Svetlana continued as a Civilian Engineer, at Energia NPO while remaining an active cosmonaut. She was made Deputy to the Chief Designer, Energia, in 1987. She became a Member of Parliament in 1989. In 1993 she left the cosmonaut corps without having made another spaceflight.

Svetlana is married to Viktor Khatkovsky, an engineer and pilot at the Ilyushin aircraft design bureau. Her favourite composers are Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, and her favourite poet is Mikhail Lermentov. Like other Russian female cosmonauts, she seems to have flown mainly due to her family connections and for propaganda purposes. This in no way diminished her obvious talents and suitability as a pilot cosmonaut.

FLIGHT LOG: Soyuz T-7 - 19 August 1982 Assignment: Prime Crew. Flight Time: 7.91 days. Manned spaceflight...more details..

Docked with Salyut 7. Carried Svetlana Savitskaya, Leonid Popov, Alexander Serebrov to Salyut 7 to conduct scientific and technical research and experiments; returned crew of Soyuz T-5 to Earth. Recovered December 10, 1982 19:03 GMT. Landed 118 km E Dzhezkazgan.

Soyuz T-12 - 17 July 1984 Assignment: Prime Crew. Flight Time: 11.80 days. Manned spaceflight...more details..

Manned three crew. Docked with Salyut 7. Transported a crew comprising ship's commander V A Dzhanibekov, flight engineer S E Savitskaya and cosmonaut-research I P Volk to the Salyut-7 orbital station to conduct scientific and technical studies and experiments. Recovered July 29, 1984 12:55 GMT.

EVA Soyuz T-12-1 - 25 July 1984 Assignment: EVA Crew. EVA Duration: 3.58 hours. Summary: Conducted welding experiments.

Soyuz T-15c - 03 April 1986 Assignment: Prime Crew. Summary: Planned but cancelled all-female flight to be launched on International Woman's Day. Breakdown of Salyut 7 and exhaustion of stock of Soyuz T spacecraft led to cancellation of mission.

Soyuz T-15a - 15 September 1992 Assignment: Prime Crew.

Planned September 1986. To have docked with Mir. Cancelled all-female flight to be launched on International Woman's Day. Breakdown of Salyut 7, exhaustion of stock of Soyuz T spacecraft led to cancellation of mission. Officially cancelled after birth of Savtskaya's baby. No women currently in training after cancellation of this mission.

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