Helen Sharman, English cosmonaut, 1998.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Helen Sharman (b 1963) was the first Briton in space. Previously employed as an electrical engineer, she became a cosmonaut in 1990 and flew aboard Soyuz TM-12 in 1991. Sharman spent seven days aboard Mir, the only space station currently in orbit. Its first component was launched by the Soviet Union in 1986. The Soviet Union decided to develop a permanently manned space station when it realized that it could not win the race to the moon, and in 1970 began experiments with the Soyuz programme. This photograph of Sharman was taken during her visit to the Science Museum on 24 February 1998.