Jun 222021

Citadel Youth Centre, EH6 6JE

Black and white portrait of Helen Sharman in her space suit with a sketch of the MIR Space Station in the background painted on the wall of the Citadel Youth Centre
Helen Sharman, OBE, by Shona Hardie. The young people of Citadel Youth Centre prepared the site and created the additional stencil artwork around this portrait. Image by Chris Scott Photography

Helen Sharman was the first British Astronaut. She was chemist from Sheffield working for Mars Confectionery when Project Juno, a partnership between the Soviet Union and the UK to send a British national to space, began. After hearing about the opportunity to go space on the radio, Helen applied and was one of four selected from a group of 13,000 applicants. In 1991, after 18 months of intensive training, Helen flew on a Soyuz rocket up to the Soviet Mir Space Station. During her eight days in space, Helen conducted medical, agricultural, materials, and Earth observation work. She also worked with school children, communicating with them via an amateur radio link and bringing seeds on board to be used for a student-led experiment on the effects of space travel on seeds. Helen now works for the National Physics Laboratory and as a UK Outreach Ambassador for Imperial College London. She has spent many years sharing her experiences and passion for space to inspire the next generation of budding scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians.