If I asked the average person who the first Briton in space was, some people would probably say `Sir Michael Foale` or `Piers Sellar`. Some people might even say `Neil Armstrong` or `Yuri Gagarin`, only a small number would probably say `Helen Sharman`
Helen was born and brought up in Sheffield including studying at the City`s University. Her first degree was in Chemistry. She later studied for a Phd at London Unversity`s Birbeck College.
Her work career involved working at G.E.C. then at Mars, the confectionary company. On the way home from work whilst at Mars she heard an advert for being the first Briton in Space. She thought she`d apply. It involved being put through her paces, physically and mentally. She had to compete against other people for the title of first Brition in space. The whole search process was financed by British Industry and not the Government which continues to push for Earth based research not sending people into space. It also meant learning another language which was Russian. She started off as one person in 13000 applicants then it got whittled down to just one. She had to study at the `Yuri Gagarin` Space Center in Moscow before she went up.
After many months of training and selection, she blasted off into Space on 18th May 1991 with fellow cosmanauts Anatole Artsebarsky and Sergei Krikalev. She spent eight days in space which included a visit to the Mir space station to swap residents.