A women of firsts, British astronout Helen Sharman
Helen Patricia Sharman (OBE FRSC), the first Briton in space and the first woman to visit the Mir space station in 1991 is supporting Blue Abyss. Miss Sharman, a former chemist for the Mars chocolate company, had won her place in space in 1989 after answering an advertisement she heard on the car radio: "Astronaut wanted. No experience necessary."
She was eventually selected from over 13,000 applicants to be the British member of the Russian scientific space mission, Project Juno. Prior to that time the USSR had already flown a Mongolian, an Afghan, a Cuban, a Syrian and a Japanese journalist into space. She spent 18 gruelling months training in Star City, 30km north-east of Moscow and now speaks fluent Russian. She became known among her comrades for her remarkably calm and unruffled nature. Helen trained alongside her British back-up, Major Tim Mace.
In support of Blue Abyss, Mrs Sharman said:
Blue Abyss will provide a world-leading training pool for space EVAs and other activities where neutral buoyancy activities are required. Astronauts and other space professionals will want to come from around the world to use the massive, yet controlled, environment to reduce risk in space. Knowledge transfer between the different types of users will benefit everyone, divers and astronauts alike, and I can see plenty of international collaborations and business ventures starting life within Blue Abyss.
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