SOKOL Zvezda space suit worn by Helen Sharman

Blue and white spacesuit and helmet, with Union flag patch on the sleeve and 'Juno' space mission patch.

SOKOL Zvezda space suit worn by Helen Sharman, CC BY Science Museum/ Science and Society Picture Library

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  • Intro
    Museum's Description
    Teacher notes
    • Helen Sharman was the first British person to go into space, that is pretty impressive!

      She was chosen to be part of the Juno mission to go up to the MIR Space station in 1991. If you hover your mouse over the image you can zoom in on the badge on her suit which shows the name and date of the mission.

      Space suits like this one were developed to protect astronauts from the harsh environment when they were exploring outer space. They would help the astronaut to breathe and protect their body from high pressure.

      Space exploration really took off after the Second World War when America and the Soviet Union were competing in the Space Race. This wasn’t an official race but rather a competition between two rival countries to see who could get into outer space first.

      Nowadays lots of different countries have sent people into space. Interestingly it tends to be men who are sent into space, even today there have only ever been 60 women in space compared to over 450 men. That is why Helen Sharman was such an important astronaut, she was a pioneer for female scientists and explorers.

      Things to think about:
      • Why do you think it was mainly men who were sent into space?
      • Do you know any other famous female explorers?
      • Can you think of any other inventions which helped people to explore?

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