Astro Girl: Helen Sharman

Helen Sharman is a British chemist and astronaut who became the first British person, first Western European woman and first privately funded woman travel to space, as well as the first woman to visit the Mir space station in 1991.

She travelled on a Soyuz spacecraft and spend eight days orbiting the Earth, living and working on the Mir Space Station. In space, her tasks included medical, agricultural and chemical experiments, testing different materials, Earth observation, 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.

After her return from space, Helen spent many years helping people to understand science and its benefits by speaking, presenting on radio and television, and organising science events for the public.

“We should push forward not only our own individual boundaries, but also the boundaries of what humans believe is possible. People are the biggest limitations in our own lives. There’s a huge amount we can do, and we should make the best use of our lives for the benefit of the world.”

Helen Sharman

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