Great Russian Women
Svetlana Savitskaya - Second woman in space
First woman to walk in space
On July 25, 1984, Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space. Along with fellow cosmonaut, Vladimir Dzhanibekov, conducted experiments on the Salyut 7 space station. The walk lasted 3.58 hours and was part of the Soyuz T-12 mission, Savitskaya's last. Igor Petrovich Volk rounded out this 3 person crew.
After returning to Earth on July 29, 1984, Savitskaya was slated to command an all female Soyuz crew to the space station in commeration of National Women's Day. The mission was scrubbed due to the lack of Soyuz T availability and various troubles with the space station itself. Savitskaya was appointed Chief Designer at Energiya (1987) and became a member of the Duma in 1989.
Savitskaya officially left the Russian space program in 1993 after clocking 19.71 hours in space. Her husband, Viktor Khatkovsky, is an engineer and a pilot at Ilyushin Aircraft Design Bureau.
Svetlana Savitskaya was born on August 8, 1948, in Moscow. She was interested in flight from a very young age. As a school girl, she managed, for a time, to hide from her father her parachute jumping activities. Savitskaya applied to pilot school at age 16 and was turned down. By the time she was 17, she had logged 450 jumps. At the age of 17, Savitskaya performed a jump from 14,252 meters, falling 14 km before opening her chute at roughly 500 meters. At the time, this feat set a new record. She was, eventually, accepted into the Soviet cosmonaut program on July 30, 1980.
Flying and adventure were in young Svetlana's blood. Her father, Yeveniy Savitsky, was a WWII flying ace, had served as Deputy Commander of the Soviet Air Defense and was designated, twice, as a Hero of the Soviet Union. At age 18, Svetlana entered the Moscow Aviation Institute, a state-of-the-art engineering school. In 1970, she attracted international attention as a World Champion member of the Soviet National Aerobatics Team.
After graduation in 1972, Svetlana pursued a career as a pilot. She set world records in supersonic and turbo-prop aircraft. Svetlana set the record as the first female to fly 2,683 km/hr in a MiG-21. By 1972, she was licensed to fly an amazing 20 different types of aircraft.
When Svetlana became a cosmonaut, in 1980, she was the 53rd to be associated with Energiya. On August 19. 1982, she was the second woman to travel in space during the Soyuz T-7 mission.