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Female Cosmonaut in Training Disqualified After Failing Test

Anna Kikina failed to pass an unspecified test after two years of training for the mission.

The only female candidate for Russia's cosmonaut team has not made the cut after officials disqualified two out of the eight candidates who had been training to fly into space, a news report said.

Anna Kikina, 29, failed to pass an unspecified test, involving a "very serious challenge," after two years of training for the mission, head of the RKK Energiya space company Alexander Kaleri said Thursday, Interfax reported.

The decision to scrap Kikina's candidacy came on June 16 — exactly 51 years after Russia sent the world's first female astronaut, Valentina Tereshkova, into space.

A review board has "thoroughly considered the results of training, analyzed everything and decided by a majority vote not to confer the rank of cosmonaut on Kikina," Kaleri was quoted as saying.

The space company chief said Kikina began training in 2012 among eight candidates competing for six spots on the space team, Interfax reported.

"They were warned that a screening out was likely," Kaleri added.

Another candidate, Ignat Ignatov, has been disqualified for medical reasons, he said.

Three Russian women have traveled into space so far — Tereshkova, Svetlana Savitskaya and Yelena Kondakova — and a fourth one, Yelena Serova, is scheduled to fly to the International Space Station in September.

Out of the 57 women to have made it into space, 44 have been from the U.S.

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