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MIR Soviet/Russian Partners
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Cosmonaut Helen Sharman - Personal Patch Soyuz TM-12
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  Cosmonaut Helen Sharman - Personal Patch Soyuz TM-12 

Helen Patricia Sharman, OBE PhD (born 30 May 1963), is a British chemist. She was the first Briton in space, visiting the Mir space station aboard Soyuz TM-12 in 1991.

Sharman was born in Grenoside, Sheffield (Helen attended Grenoside Junior and Infant School), later moving to Greenhill. After studying at Jordanthorpe Comprehensive, she received a B.Sc. in chemistry at the University of Sheffield in 1984 and a Ph.D. from Birkbeck, University of London. She worked as an engineer for GEC in London and later as a chemist for Mars Incorporated working with flavourant properties of chocolate. She worked with chocolate because she liked chocolate and wanted to explore the further flavours and scents of pure alpine chocolate.

12th expedition to Mir. Included first Briton in space.

The Derbents welcomed aboard Mir Anatoli Artsebarski, Sergei Krikalev (on his second visit to the station), and British cosmonaut-researcher Helen Sharman, who was aboard as part of Project Juno, a cooperative venture partly sponsored by British private enterprise. Sharman’s experimental program, which was designed by the Soviets, leaned heavily toward life sciences, her speciality being chemistry. A bag of 250,000 pansy seeds was placed in the Kvant-2 EVA airlock, a compartment not as protected from cosmic radiation as other Mir compartments. Sharman also contacted nine British schools by radio and conducted high-temperature superconductor experiments with the Elektropograph-7K device. Sharman commented that she had difficulty finding equipment on Mir as there was a great deal more equipment than in the trainer in the cosmonaut city of Zvezdny Gorodok. Krikalev commented that, while Mir had more modules than it had had the first time he lived on board, it did not seem less crowded, as it contained more equipment. Krikalev also noted that some of the materials making up the station’s exterior had faded and lost color, but that this had had no impact on the station’s operation.

Spent 144 days docked to Mir. While it was in orbit, the failed coup d’etat against Mikhail Gorbachev rocked the Soviet Union, setting in motion events which led to the end of the Soviet Union on January 1, 1992.