By 1962, the Space Race between Russia and the US became more of a propaganda race. That’s when Kruschev personally intervened in the whole Russian Space programme. The idea of the ‘first woman in space’ was his personal dream.
Russia’s director of the Soviet Space Programme, Sergei Korolev, wanted techno advances: longer flights, space stations and docking manouevres. But Kruschev wanted a Soviet Heroine. Otherwise, he told Korolev bluntly, he wasn’t signing off on the budget.
That’s briefly how Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman cosmonaut. But she had to fight off three other female contestants on the way.