Helen Sharman

  • Dr. Helen Sharman
    Credit: Anne-Katrin Purkiss
    Name: Helen Patricia Sharman
  • Born: 30th May 1963
  • Nationality: British
  • Occupation: astronaut, engineer, chemist, researcher
  • Time in space: 7 days, 21 hours, 13 minutes

Helen Sharman grew up in Sheffield, UK. She graduated from university with a degree in chemistry, and went on to study for a PhD. After university, she worked as an engineer and as a chemist. One of her jobs involved working on the science of chocolate flavours!

When Helen was 26, she heard an advert on the radio. It was asking for people to apply to become the first British person in space. Over 13,000 people applied, including Helen. Helen was chosen because of her knowledge of science and her language skills. The successful astronaut would be flying on a Russian mission so would need to learn Russian. Helen then spent 18 months training in Russia. 

In 1991, Helen was part of a Soyuz mission to the Mir space station. She became the first British astronaut and the first women to visit Mir. Helen was in space for 8 days. She worked as a researcher during her time on Mir. Her work included carrying out science experiments in space.

Teachers! Use our 'Literacy: Biographies Unit' lessons. Your class will write a biography of Helen Sharman.