7 Mar 2013

Russia to send woman into space in 2014

1:14 pm on 7 March 2013

Russia is to send a female cosmonaut into space next year for the first time in 20 years.

Star City space training centre official Alexei Temerov said Yelena Serova, 36. Her voyage will spend six months at the International Space Station.

"Her work programme at the ISS will not be anything extraordinary. It will be the usual research program. A space walk is not planned," he added.

Russia will this year celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first woman's trip to space.

The feat was accomplished by Valentina Tereshkova on June 16, 1963, and was followed by that of Svetlana Savitskaya, another Soviet cosmonaut who was the first woman to do a space walk.

But AAP reports there has been only one Russian woman to fly to space since the early 1980s.

Yelena Kondakova spent five months in space on the former Mir station in 1994-1995. She also travelled aboard the US Space Shuttle in 1997.

AAP reprots a second woman currently in training, Anna Kikina, 28, has joined the cosmonaut programme. She was one of eight people selected in a recruitment drive last year.