English astronaut and the first Briton to fly in space, chosen from 13 000 applicants for a 1991 joint UK–Russian space flight. A research chemist, she was launched on 18 May 1991 in Soyuz TM-12 and spent six days with Russian cosmonauts conducting scientific experiments aboard the Mir space station.
Born in Sheffield, England, she was awarded a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in chemistry by Sheffield University. Whilst working as a research technologist for Mars Confectionery, she heard a radio advertisement: ‘Astronaut wanted—no experience necessary’. After her training and flight, Sharman returned to scientific work, presenting numerous science programmes on radio and television. She was awarded an OBE in 1992.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.