Helen Sharman became the first British astronaut in May 1991, when she launched on a Soyuz spacecraft to spend eight days orbiting the Earth, most of that time on the Mir Space Station. After the Soviet Space Agency reached an agreement with a company set up to manage the British Mission, Helen was one of two Britons selected for astronaut training out of almost 13,000 applicants. The Mission, named Project Juno, was a cooperative arrangement and would enable the UK to send one of its people into space for the first time.
In space, Helen’s tasks included medical, agricultural and chemical experiments, materials’ testing, Earth observation work and operating an amateur radio link with British school students. She also took some seeds into space with her that she brought back to Earth for British school students to use as part of a UK-wide experiment to investigate the effects of space travel on the seeds as compared with a control sample.
Helen has not returned to space, although, like every other astronaut, she would love to be up there again, feeling weightless, experiencing the camaraderie and contemplating the views.
Helen is often invited to speak worldwide at corporate, public, government, academic and school events, on subjects including teamwork, leadership and achieving goals. Helen takes her audience on a journey into space. She describes aspects like training and preparation, launch, the effects of microgravity, living and working in space, teamwork and adjusting to life back on Earth.