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From Sheffield To The Stars: An Interview With Britain's First Astronaut

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Today’s The Tribune interviews a local star! Well, a spaceperson… Britain’s first astronaut Helen Sharman came from Sheffield and doesn’t give interviews to local press generally so this is quite a coup. Here’s a snippet:




““I was excited to go. The night before I didn’t sleep very much but there was a lovely conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter at the time, so I was watching that from my window.” The only thing that weighed on her at all was a sense of responsibility “to do a good job for Britain as a whole”.

“She had been put through a number of psychological assessments, after all, to ensure she was someone who could still think logically and communicate with other crew members if something went wrong. And things were “going wrong all the time, in minor ways,” she recalls, only they were so quickly resolved that “they didn’t ever get to make the news”. A few hours after they reached the Mir space station, for example, they lost electrical power, plunging them into total darkness and switching off the fans. Technically, this could have been fatal if she hadn’t known what to do, because the lack of gravity in space means the air you breathe out — depleted of oxygen and full of carbon dioxide — doesn’t naturally move away from your face. “If you stay still, without fans circulating the air, you can suffocate.””


As always, you can read the full thing at The Tribune

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