The BBC News website often uses this file photo on spaceflight-related pages such as this one.

Is it possible to identify the following?

  1. the astronaut
  2. the spacecraft
  3. the spacesuit
  4. the external red material of the spacesuit
  5. reason(s) why the suit is bright red

Astronaut file photo from the BBC


A tineye query shows that this is a stock photo of Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space.

She is the first and youngest woman to have flown in space with a solo mission on the Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963. She orbited the Earth 48 times, spent almost three days in space, and remains the only woman to have been on a solo space mission.

A military portrait taken in 1969 shows the same facial features

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And immediately prior to launch

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Valentina Tereshkova, as seen on June 16, 1963, as she reports to the pad for the launch of the Vostok 6 mission. (Roscosmos)

And a blue coloured suit under the outer red shell

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Video still showing Valentina Tereshkova donning her spacesuit. Her patch can be seen on the thermal suit. (Roscosmos/1TV.ru)

The exterior of the bright orange spacesuit was devoid of any markings. There were no patches or name tags. The only identifier was printed across the front on her helmet, the Cyrillic letters "CCCP" (USSR).

But underneath that outer layer and the pressure garment it covered, hidden from view, Tereshkova wore a sky blue thermal garment. And on the left shoulder of that flight suit was a large embroidered emblem, the world's first space mission patch.


It appears here that the "pressure garment" is an off-white colour.

The space suit is an SK Series suit used for the Vostok missions, although specifically, the suit in the photo is an SK-2 (made specifically for women).

SK-1 Suit:

enter image description here

Please don't ask me why the mannequin appears to be holding a staple-gun. Maybe the suit is susceptible to snagging.

It looks very much as though the red suit is a protective nylon shell over the more functional space suit. I assume it's red because that's the colour of the USSR flag, and to allow the suit to be easily visible to the recovery team. Obviously, however, propoganda has a factor in the choice of the colour.

  • $\begingroup$ very nice! any idea about the red material the spacesuit exterior is made from, or why it is red? (see i.stack.imgur.com/nEAs6.jpg from here) $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jul 9 '19 at 12:37
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    $\begingroup$ the NASA Advanced Crew Escape Suit (worn during launch and landing) is orange to optimize for visibility. $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Jul 9 '19 at 12:44
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    $\begingroup$ I thought the stapler was supposed to be red! Great answer. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Jul 9 '19 at 13:06
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    $\begingroup$ Note that the Vostok pilots ejected from their spacecraft before landing, so a highly visible suit would be a big safety factor. I believe it’s red-orange rather than Soviet flag red. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Jul 9 '19 at 13:15
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    $\begingroup$ The "staple-gun" seems (to me) to be a kind of plug for all the tubes on the right side of the suit. Communication + oxygen + water and such maybe? $\endgroup$ – Luris Jul 9 '19 at 21:06

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