First Briton speaks to Hyperbola

by | Jul 8, 2009 | History, Russia, Soyuz, space station | 0 comments

First Briton in space Helen Sharman spoke to Hyperbola after being awarded the first silver astronaut pin by the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) on 3 July 2009. Sharman flew to the Mir space station in May 1991. Called Project Juno the mission had been initiated by London based Moscow Narodny Bank, a subsidiary of the Soviet Union’s Vnesheconombanka bank, that thought it could organise private funding to send a foreign citizen to the Mir space station

Deciding to conduct this commercial venture in the UK adverts were placed in 1989 for applicants and over 13,000 were received. Managed by Brunel University’s Institute for Bio-Engineering Sharman, a chemist working in the food industry at the time, was selected and with a British Army air corps Major as her backup crew man went through 18 months of cosmonaut training. Launched on Soyuz TM-12 on 18 May her mission lasted eight-days

The BIS also awarded a silver pin to British born US citizen Richard Garriott, the sixth spaceflight participant to go to the International Space Station. Garriott, the son of NASA Skylab and Space Shuttle astronaut Owen Garriott, made his money in the computer game industry. The BIS plans to award British born NASA astronauts Michael Foale, Piers Sellers and Nick Patrick silver pins in the near future 

Despite reports in 1991 and since that Project Juno was a private mission, and even Sharman herself refers to it as a commercial mission, the Soviet bank failed to raise any private financing and the entire mission was paid for by the Soviet government. It went ahead with the approval of then Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev. Hyperbola investigated the background to Juno a while back and spoke to the UK organisers about the realities of Project Juno

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles

Shenzhou 14 Taikonauts complete first EVA spacewalk…later Wentian module is moved to make Chinese Space Station an “L” shape

Shenzhou 14's mission commander Chen Dong, and crew member Liu Yang began their first spacewalk after opening the airlock cabin Read more

SpaceX Dragon CRS-25 undocks and returns off the coast of Florida

SpaceX's Dragon CRS-25 successfully undocked from the forward port of the Harmony module of the International Space Station (ISS) at Read more

Russian spacewalk cut short after spacesuit battery power fluctuates

ISS Commander Oleg Artemyev and fellow Roscosmos Cosmonaut Denis Matveev began their six and half hour scheduled extravehicular activity (EVA) Read more

Wentian lab module docks at Chinese space station after Long March 5B launch

China’s experiment module I (Wentian) has successfully docked with the Chinese Space Station to become a permanent part of it. Read more

Russian and European rare joint spacewalk completed

Russian cosmonaut and ISS Commander Oleg Artemyev and ESA astronaut Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti made a spacewalk together on 21 Read more

Tianzhou 3 cargo ship undocks from Chinese Space Station

Cargo spacecraft Tianzhou 3 successfully undocked from the Chinese Space Station's forward port on 17 July 2022 at 0259 GMT.  Read more

Russian cargo freighter launched on Soyuz rocket docks with International Space Station

A Russian cargo freighter was successfully launched on a Soyuz 2.1a launch vehicle from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan at 0932 GMT Read more

China launches three more “Taikonauts” to its space station on Shenzhou 14

The Chinese successfully launched a Long March 2F/G (CZ-2F/G) launch vehicle from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, China at 0244 GMT Read more