Worked at the Iaroslavl’ tyre factory, 1954, and at the Iaroslavl’ textile factory, Krasnyi Perekop, 1955-1960. Member of the local aviation club, making over 160 parachute jumps. Selected for a team of cosmonauts, 1962.
First woman cosmonaut in orbit, 16-19 June 1963. Hero of the Soviet Union, 22 June 1963. Visited many countries.
President of the Committee of Soviet Women, 1968. Failed to be re-elected during the Gorbachev perestroika, 1986. Member of the 250-strong Soviet delegation which went to the town of Chautauqua, New York, in August 1987 to talk to American leaders about putting an end to the Cold War.
A crater on the reverse side of the moon has been named after her. Married her fellow cosmonaut Nikolaev. Their daughter is the first child in history to have parents who are both cosmonauts.