Fifty-five years ago – on June 16 – Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman and first civilian to travel to space. A 26-year-old textile worker from a small town outside Moscow, Tereshkova broke down barriers for future generations of women to enter the space industry. Reflecting on her journey, she famously remarked: “A bird cannot fly with one wing only. Human space flight cannot develop any further without the active participation of women.”
Planet couldn’t agree more. To mark the anniversary this week, we teamed up with Rocket Lab and created a mission patch to honor the invaluable contributions of women in aerospace and to inspire future generations to come. The patch will be available for purchase at Rocket Lab’s online store, with all proceeds benefiting the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program, an organization founded to honor the legacy of space pioneer Dawn Brooke Owens, which supports paid internships and mentorship for undergraduate women interested aerospace careers.
While the patch recognizes the contributions of trailblazing women, it also represents the joint commitment of Planet and Rocket Lab to make the industry more accessible for the next generation of women in aerospace. As a host institution for the Brooke Owens Foundation, Planet welcomes an intern each summer and gives them hands-on experience working with a team to solve our toughest challenges. Interns also get matched with a senior-level mentor to help them explore different aspects of the industry.
Planet and Rocket Lab collaborated on the design of the patch, which is inspired by the first space mission patch created by women in the Zvezda spacesuit research bureau for Tereshkova’s 1963 journey. The constellation on the bird’s wing is the Pleiades, or “Seven Sisters,” a star cluster visible from all places on Earth inhabited by humankind.