Britain's first astronaut
Faculty Technical Manager for Science, Engineering and Computing, Kingston University (2013-present)
Leading communicator of science, teamwork and motivation
“The panel discussion was excellent and the feedback outstanding. Your contributions were very much appreciated by the other speakers and attendees.” – Royal Aeronautical Society President’s Conference
Helen Sharman Speaker:
Helen Sharman became the first British Astronaut when, in May 1991, she launched on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. She spent 8 days orbiting the Earth, living and working on the MIR Space Station.
She is a full-time scientist, a pioneer, a role model for young people (all ages!) and an inspiration.
Born in Sheffield, Helen received her BSc in Chemistry at Sheffield University.
She worked in Research & Development for GEC before moving to Mars Confectionery, where she became a Research Technologist working on chocolate and ice cream.
Helen was selected from 13,000 applicants for Project Juno, a co-operative arrangement between the Soviet Union and a British company set up to manage the Mission. She didn’t think she stood a chance of being chosen when she applied, after hearing an advert on the radio. But she was exactly the right person – calm, practical, friendly, professional and a team player.
Helen celebrated her 25th Anniversary in May 2016, with her colleagues from across Europe.
A superb speaker, Helen enthuses her audience about Space, STEM and the wonders of science. She describes the meticulous training and preparation, learning Russian, the launch and landing, how weightlessness feels, her science experiments, the team spirit, and readjusting to life on Earth.
Helen is invited to speak globally at corporate, public, government, academic and school events. Depending on the brief, she includes a wide range of topics including Living in Space, training to be an astronaut, and teamwork, leadership, communication and motivation. These relate to her career, training and experience, which she combines with her management experience.
Her presentation includes slides, many of which she took herself during her time on MIR.
Helen Sharman was awarded the OBE in 1993. In the New Years Honours List 2018, she was further awarded a rare and special honour, being made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) for services to Science and Technology Educational Outreach.
In his Foreword to Helen’s autobiography Seize The Moment, Arthur C Clarke writes “Her account of the hours before the launch and the actual sensations during ascent into orbit is so gripping that any reader will feel a vicarious involvement. This is exactly what it must be like”. Helen is also the author of The Space Place (1997) a children’s book, illustrated by Mic Rolp.
On 15 December 2015, Britain’s second astronaut Major Time Peake began his mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Helen joined Professor Brian Cox and Dara Ó’Briain to commentate on the live docking of the Soyuz rocket with the ISS on BBC TV’s Stargazing Live. She was invited back again on 18 June 2016 for Tim Peake’s safe return to Earth.
Following her own space flight, Helen became a science communicator and corporate speaker. She won numerous prizes for radio and television programmes and for her inspirational talks worldwide on teamwork, STEM, science communication and motivation.
Helen has not returned to Space but, like every other astronaut, she would love to go into Space again, experiencing the weightlessness, the camaraderie ……… and the views.
More recently, Helen managed a research group at the National Physical Laboratory in London.
She now works full-time at the Department of Chemistry, Imperial College University of London.
Helen recorded the Audioguide for the acclaimed Cosmonauts exhibition at the Science Museum, London.
In July 2015, she spoke at a special event for children (aged 5-95!) at the Royal Institution in London. Co-presented by TV presenter Dallas Campbell, the event was entitled To Infinity and Beyond: the story of the spacesuit and it included part of Helen’s own spacesuit, generously loaned by the National Space Centre in Leicester.
Also in 2015, Helen was appointed President of the IST (Institute of Science and Technology), where she makes a significant contribution to the technical community.
Formerly a Trustee of the National Space Centre, Helen is a Patron of Spacelink Learning Foundation.
She is a very active member of the Association of Space Explorers (whose members must have completed a full orbit of the Earth in order to qualify for membership).
She was awarded the Friendship of the Soviet People Medal from the Soviet Union and the Medal for Services to Space from Russia.
For her accomplishments in Project Juno, Helen received a star on the Sheffield Walk of Fame.
In January of 2018 Helen was granted another (and very rare) honour in Her Majesty The Queen’s New Year Honours List. The honour is the Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George and it given to her for services to Science and Technology Educational Outreach.
For availability and speaker fees, please contact Helen Sharman’s speaking agent at Chartwell here, or call +1 972 385 1021 for U.S. inquiries or +44 207 293 0864 for international inquiries.
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