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British astronauts on Mir


The Russian space station, Mir, was launched in 1986 and spent 15 years in space. It was badly damaged by a fire in 1997, but was repaired. It was finally abandoned in March 2001 after which it broke into pieces and crashed back down to Earth. During its lifetime, two British astronauts flew on Mir.


Helen Sharman flew on MIR in 1991. She spent eight days in space. She did a whole range of experiments, including looking at how 'weightlessness' affects people, plants and the growth of crystals.


In 1997, another astronaut from the UK, Michael Foale, spent 145 days aboard Mir and narrowly escaped death when it was struck by another spacecraft. Rather than put him off space travel for life, his experiences on Mir just fired his passion for space travel even more. He is now training to work on the International Space Station.




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