3 May 2022
Starting her career working as a food scientist for Mars UK, little did Helen Sharman know that one day she would hear a radio advertisement inviting applications for a mission to the Mir space station and, then some years later, become Britain’s first person to visit outer space.
In her inspirational talk to Year 10 and Year 12 Helen regaled how she got there, how she experimented with plants in a zero-gravity environment (where the roots do not grow downwards!), as well as talking about how to communicate, eat, sleep, breathe and excrete in space!
Her most inspirational message was about challenge. “It was not about succeeding the first time around,” she told a packed hall of students. “There were many things which went wrong along the way.” From learning Russian, to being far from home, to docking on the space station, challenges were ever-present.
After her talk, we were grateful to Helen for staying and meeting our Year 11 Scholars. They talked through their designs for the International Space Challenge, the brief being to create an international space hotel. Her advice was much appreciated, in between the many requests for autographs!