Russia will send a female astronaut into space
6 March 2013: Today Russia declare intention to send a female astronaut into space. This is the first time in last two decades Russia will try woman in space.
Alexei Temerov, an official at Russia's Star City space training center informed that Yelena Serova, 36 and a professional cosmonaut " is getting ready for a space flight in the second half of 2014".
Yelena Serova will spend six months at the International Space Station (ISS), Temerov added. "Her work programme at the ISS will not be anything extraordinary. It will be the usual research programme. A space walk is not planned" he explained.
A second woman is also currently in training. Anna Kikina is 28 years old and she has joined the cosmonaut program after becoming one of eight people selected in last year's recruitment drive.
This year Russia will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first woman's trip to space. The extra-ordinary achievement was accomplished by Valentina Tereshkova on June 16, 1963. Another Soviet cosmonaut, Svetlana Savitskaya, followed Valentina and became the first woman to do a space walk.
NASA regularly sends women astronauts to the International Space Station but so far there has been only one Russian astronaut to fly to space since the early 1980s. Yelena Kondakova spent five months in space on the Mir station in 1994-1995. She also travelled in space with the US Space Shuttle in 1997.