Helen Sharman

Helen Patricia Sharman CMG, OBE, HonFRSC. Born at Grenoside, Sheffield, in 1963. She later moved to Greenhill, attended Jordanthorpe Comprehensive, and later studied chemistry at the University of Sheffield and Birkbeck, University of London. Better known to us as plain old Helen Sharman, the UK’s first astronaut.

In 1989, she responded to a radio advert and was selected from more than 13,000 applicants to be part of Project Juno, an Anglo-Soviet space mission. In May 1991, she launched on a Soyuz spacecraft to spend eight days orbiting the earth, most of that time on the Mir space station.

She’s also famous for tripping and dropping the torch, extinguishing the flame, at the opening ceremony of Sheffield’s World Student Games in the same year. But she has other claims to fame as well, including an appearance in an episode of Hollyoaks, and having Sharman Court student flats on Broad Lane named after her.

These days she works full time at the Department of Chemistry, Imperial College, London.