|Birth Day:||August 8, 1948|
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She was born to a Soviet military commander.
After graduating in 1966, she enrolled in the Moscow State Aviation Institute (MAI), where she also took flight lessons. In 1971 she was licensed as a flight instructor. After graduating from the MAI in 1972, she trained as a test pilot at the Fedotov Test Pilot School, graduating in 1976. In May 1978 she went to work for the aircraft manufacturer Yakovlev, as a test pilot.
Between 1969 and 1977 she was a member of the Soviet national team for aerobatics. At the FAI World Aerobatic Championships in July 1970 at Hullavington, she flew a Yak-18 and won the world championship together with an all-female team. At the 1972 World Championships in Salon-de-Provence she placed third; in 1976 in Kiev with a Yak-50, fifth.
In 1979, Savitskaya participated in the selection process for the second group of female cosmonauts. On June 30, 1980, she was officially admitted to the cosmonaut group. She passed her exams on February 24, 1982.
In December 1981, Savitskaya prepared for her first space flight, a short-term flight to the space station Salyut 7, replacing the original crew. The commander of this mission was Leonid Popov, with his third flight; it was flight engineer Alexander Serebrov's first flight.
The launch of Soyuz T-7 took place on August 19, 1982. This made Savitskaya the second woman in space, 19 years after Valentina Tereshkova. The three cosmonauts docked with the space station the following day, where they were welcomed by Anatoly Berezovoy and Valentin Lebedev. This was the first time a space station had a mixed gender crew. Savitskaya was assigned the orbital module of Soyuz T-7 as a private area, but slept as well as the men in the space station. On August 27, 1982, Popov, Savitskaya, and Serebrov returned to Earth in Soyuz T-5.
In December 1983 she was assigned to her second flight, including an EVA, three weeks after American astronaut Kathy Sullivan's flight and EVA assignment were made public. Again, it was to be a short-term mission to Salyut 7, this time bringing tools to the station so that the third resident crew, the Salyut 7 EO-3, could repair a fuel line.
On July 17, 1984 Savitskaya launched aboard Soyuz T-12, together with Commander Vladimir Dzhanibekov and research cosmonaut Igor Volk. On July 25, 1984, Savitskaya became the first woman to spacewalk, conducting EVA outside the Salyut 7 space station for 3 hours and 35 minutes, during which she cut and welded metals in space along with her colleague Vladimir Dzhanibekov. Of the 57 Soviet/Russian spacewalkers through 2010, she is the only woman, and as of April 2020 is still the only Soviet/Russian woman to walk in space. The return to Earth took place on July 29, 1984.
Upon returning to Earth, Savitskaya was assigned as the commander of an all-female Soyuz crew to Salyut 7 in commemoration of International Women's Day. In February 1985, however, the radio contact with Salyut 7 was lost; the space station was rescued by the Soyuz T-13 mission in the summer of 1985. When the next mission had to be stopped in November 1985, due to an illness of the commander Vladimir Vasyutin, the women's flight was finally canceled. In addition, after two unsuccessful flights in 1983, Soyuz T-8 and Soyuz T-10-1, not enough Soyuz spacecraft were available. Later it would have been possible to fly with a Soyuz-TM to the space station Mir. However, this plan was not pursued due to Savitskaya's pregnancy in 1986.
Savitskaya is married, with one child, a son born in 1986. In February 1986, she graduated from the Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School. From 1983 to 1994 Savitskaya held a position of Deputy Head of NPO Energia.
A committed communist, Savitskaya was elected as a people's deputy of the USSR from 1989 and a people's deputy of Russia in 1990, a position she held until 1992. She did not welcome the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, noting that everything her parents had worked hard to build was destroyed almost overnight and she was "glad they did not live to see it".
Savitskaya retired in 1993 from the Russian Air Force with the rank of Major. In 1994/95 she worked as an Assistant Professor in Economics and Investment at the Moscow State Aviation Institute. In 1996, she was elected a deputy of the State Duma representing the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, and has been re-elected four times since then. She presently serves as Deputy Chair of the Committee on Defence, and is also a member of the Coordination council presidium of the National Patriotic Union.
In 1995, Savitskaya gave an interview to Baltimore Sun journalist Clara Germani. She recalled encountering some sexism from her male crewmates and that upon entering Salyut 7 for the first time, Valentin Lebedev presented her with an apron and told her "to get to work". She stated that "I was quickly able to establish a working, professional relationship with them."
Currently, Svetlana Savitskaya is 74 years, 1 months and 28 days old. Svetlana Savitskaya will celebrate 75th birthday on a Tuesday 8th of August 2023.
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