The first woman in space has revealed that the Soviet authorities thought it was "too dangerous" to send more female cosmonauts into orbit.Valentina Tereshkova told BBC News that she protested, writing a letter to the central communist party committee.
It took the authorities 19 years to send another woman into space.
Ms Tereshkova was speaking at the launch of an exhibition about the Soviet space programme at the Science Museum.
She told me: "On Earth, men and women are taking the same risks. Why shouldn't we be taking the same risks in space?"
"We had been preparing for another female flight but it was (the head of the space programme) Sergei Korolev's decision not to risk women's lives because one of the women in the space corps already had a family."
I asked her whether she and the five other trained female cosmonauts disagreed with the decision.
"We were against that decision," she told me firmly. "We wrote to the central party committee disagreeing with the decision."
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