On This Day in Space! June 19, 1963: Vostok 5 & Vostok 6 return to Earth

On June 19, 1963, two Soviet spacecraft named Vostok 5 and Vostok 6 returned to Earth, ending a historic joint mission.

Vostok 6 was carrying cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, who became the first woman in space during this mission. In the other capsule was cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky, who set the record for the longest solo spaceflight during the 4 day and 23 hour mission. Tereshkova only spent 2 days and 22 hours in space.

When the two spacecraft landed in North Kazakhstan, they each touched down 2 degrees north of their target. To this day, no one knows for sure what caused them to miss. Huge crowds had gathered at the planned landing sites to greet the cosmonauts, but instead, Bykovksy was greeted by a group of farmers, and Tereshkova nearly splashed down into a lake with her parachute. 

Catch up on our entire “On This Day In Space” series on YouTube with this playlist

History of NASA: $22.99 at Magazines Direct

Discover the story of how and why NASA was created, its greatest triumphs, darkest days, and of the times it exceeded all possible hopes. A tale of adventure, heroism and resourcefulness, learn of the space agency’s greatest achievements and how — over six decades — the organization has consistently and tirelessly devoted itself to its founding principle: that “activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all humankind”.  View Deal

On This Day in Space Archive!

Still not enough space? Don’t forget to check out our Space Image of the Day, and on the weekends our Best Space Photos and Top Space News Stories of the week

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.