The day was June 16th, 1963. In the then Soviet Union, Valentina Tereshokova was preparing to make a journey into space aboard the Vostok VI spacecraft. The success of this historic flight marked the entry of women into the Space Age. This pioneering woman became the first to orbit the Earth and, to this day, the only woman to perform a solo space flight. In her honour, InnovaSpace has established Project Valentina, which uses the medium of space science to motivate and inspire girls and young women to pursue careers in science, an area of knowledge still very much dominated by men. The word Valentina also carries a significance closely aligned to Tereshokova herself, and the central theme of the project, since it derives from the term Valente, meaning someone who does not fear danger, has a fighting spirit, is fearless and courageous.
What does Project Valentina involve?
Project Valentina combines the expertise gained from InnovaSpace's other educational initiatives, such as the Kids2Mars missions and Astronaut for a Day project, among others, with the participation and experience of leading female role models from the world of science. The project involves the following activities, conducted in isolation or combination:
Organization of Q & A sessions between girls/young professionals and women who have made important contributions to Space Science and/or continue to work towards achieving success in the Space Era. Interactions can be in the form of recorded videos (offline), virtual chats (real-time) or face-to-face lectures and courses;
Promotion of hands-on activities, during which clothing, vehicles, habitats or space equipment will be built, often using recyclable or low-cost materials;
Creation of artistic activities, including exhibitions, theatre plays, installations on Women in the Space Age;
Development of electronic games, applications, virtual or augmented reality in the area of space science.
Project Valentina will be international in character and whenever possible will promote the integration of many areas of knowledge, making it an inter- and multidisciplinary experience.