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Helen Sharman

First British Astronaut

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Helen Sharman

First British Astronaut


Helen Sharman became the first British Astronaut when, in May 1991, she launched on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft and spent 8 days orbiting the Earth, living and working on the MIR Space Station. 

Sharman celebrated her 25th Anniversary in 2016, with her astronaut and cosmonaut colleagues.

She was selected from 13,000 applicants but didn’t think she stood a chance of being chosen when she applied, after hearing an advert on the radio on her way home after work. 

Sharman is passionate about Space, STEM and the wonders of science. She describes the meticulous training and preparation, learning Russian, launch and landing, how weightlessness feels, her science experiments, the team spirit, and readjusting to life on Earth.  

Sharman was awarded the OBE in 1993. In the New Year Honours List of 2018, she was further awarded a rare and special honour, being made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) for services to Science and Technology Educational Outreach. She received the CMG personally from Her Majesty The Queen at Windsor Castle in February 2018. 

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