Yelena Vladimirovna Kondakova
|Awards||Hero of the Russian Federation|
Time in space
|178d 10h 41m|
|Missions||Soyuz TM-20, Mir, STS-84|
Yelena Vladimirovna Kondakova (Russian: Елена Владимировна Кондакóва; born March 30, 1957) is the third Soviet/Russian female cosmonaut to travel to space and the first woman to make a long-duration spaceflight. Her first trip into space was on Soyuz TM-20 on October 4, 1994. She returned to Earth on March 22, 1995 after a five-month stay at the Mir space station. Kondakova's second flight was as a mission specialist on the United States Space Shuttle Atlantis during mission STS-84 in May 1997. She was the last Russian female in space until her successor cosmonaut Elena Serova flew to the International Space Station (ISS) on September 25, 2014.
Kondakova was born in Mytishchi in the Moscow Region of Russia, but grew up near Kaliningrad with an older brother. She married fellow cosmonaut Valeri Ryumin in 1985 and has one daughter with him. She attained her undergraduate degree in the field of mechanical engineering from Baumann Higher Technical School, where she specialized in production of aircraft. She was selected as a cosmonaut candidate in 1989. Kondakova's parents both worked at Energia (corporation), and her father was concerned about her taking on role as cosmonaut because he was well aware of the dangers involved. Prior to becoming a cosmonaut, she worked as an engineer for Energia (corporation). During her first excursion into space, her husband Valeri would often complain about how he desired a more traditional wife who would take care of the home and family. While Kondakova was away in space during this time, Energia (corporation) appointed Ryumin to work from home and take care of his daughter until Kondakova's return.
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