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18 May 1991

He­len Shar­man is first Bri­ton in space

In 1989, He­len Shar­man, a for­mer chemist for the Mars cho­co­late com­pany, was in her car when she heard a strange ad­ver­tise­ment on the ra­dio. It sim­ply said, “As­tro­naut wanted. No ex­pe­ri­ence nec­es­sary.” She de­cided to ap­ply, and was se­lected out of 13,000 ap­pli­cants. Af­ter a gru­elling 18 months of train­ing, on 18 May 1991, Shar­man blasted off into space to be­come the first ever Bri­tish as­tro­naut. She spent eight days on board the Mir Space Sta­tion con­duct­ing ex­per­i­ments.

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