Not a moment too soon! What wonderful news for Roskosmos and the International Space Station: Russian Cosmonaut Yelena Serova has been selected for Expedition 41, set to travel by Soyuz to the ISS in 2014.
There is one active female cosmonaut. ONE. Yelena is it. And of the 18 chosen since 1961, only 3 have ever flown. Those three were Soviet, so Yelena will technically be the first female cosmonaut from the Russian Federal Space Agency.
Valentina Tereshkova flew on Vostok 6 in 1963, becoming both the first woman and the first civilian to fly in space. After a 19-year gap, Svetlana Savitskaya flew 2 missions in 1982 and 1984, where she was the first woman to perform a space walk (EVA).
Tereshkova, Savitskaya & Kondakova
Yelena Kondakova was the first Russian female to complete a long-duration mission on Mir in 1994, and then in 1997 she was the first, and now forever only, Russian woman to fly on the Space Shuttle (STS-84 Atlantis).
Another two decades later, Yelena Serova will join a very small club, indeed.
Born April 22, 1976 in Primorsky Krai, Yelena Olegovna Serova (Елена Олеговна Серова) was selected at the age of 30 in the RKKE-14 group in 2006 while working as a flight engineer.
She is married to Test Cosmonaut Mark Serov (selected in RKKE-13 in 2003, but retired for medical reasons before flying any missions), and together they have a 10-year-old daughter.
NASA's Barry "Butch" Wilmore and RFSA's fellow space traveler Dmitri Kondratiev will also be along for her historic ride; not to make them sound like incidental passengers or anything, but when one seizes upon a gratifying milestone... well, pardon me if I hand her the spotlight.
Can't wait to add her to the master world map of space travelers!