Helen Sharman and Amateur Radio

Helen Sharman GB1MIR

Helen Sharman GB1MIR

The UK’s first astronaut Helen Sharman was asked about Amateur Radio on the BBC Radio 4 show Saturday Live broadcast December 12.

When asked by a listener, Brian, whether she still uses her amateur radio licence, she said:

“My amateur radio license was given to me very specially. I didn’t pass the tests in order to get it and I was only allowed to use it while I was in space, but I made friends all over the world. You can’t talk to a lot of people in Europe because there’s so many people trying to communicate with the space station but in parts of the world we’re it’s less populated, for instance in Australia, the astronauts do make friends that they’ve only ever met through the radio… it’s lovely.”

Read the full Essex Ham story and listen to the show at

Read about Helen Sharman’s amateur radio operation from the Mir Space Station at

Sarah Brightman to fly to International Space Station

Private Spacefarer Sarah Brightman Undergoes Medical Tests

Private Spacefarer Sarah Brightman Undergoes Medical Tests

On Wednesday, October 10 it was announced in Moscow that UK private spacefarer Sarah Brightman had passed the required mental and physical examinations to fly into space. In 2013 she will undertake six months of training at Star City in Moscow in preparation for her mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

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Rocket Science – Helen Sharman Interview

Helen Sharman GB1MIR was the first UK astronaut. On May 18, 1991, she flew to the Mir Space Station on board Soyuz-TM12, aged 27.

Before flying, Helen spent 18 months in intensive flight training in Star City on the outskirts of Moscow. The Soyuz TM-12 mission, which included Soviet cosmonauts Anatoly Artsebarsky and Sergei Krikalev, lasted eight days, most of that time spent at the Mir space station. Helen’s tasks included medical and agricultural scientific experiments, photographing the British Isles, and participating in an amateur radio hookup with UK schoolchildren.

Watch Rocket Science – Helen Sharman Interview

Since her return, Helen has become one of the UK’s leading ambassadors for science. She was awarded the OBE in 1992 and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Aeronautical Society and the British Interplanetary Society. Helen has won numerous awards including the Medal “For Merit in Space Exploration” in 2012 from the Russian Federation government. Helen is currently Group Leader of Surface and Nanoanalysis at the National Physical Laboratory.

Video of Space Shuttle Discovery STS-56 mission

Ellen Ochoa KB5TZZ the first Hispanic woman in space

The crew of STS-56 made numerous amateur radio contacts to schools around the world using the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment II (SAREX II), including brief radio contact with the Russian Mir space station, the first such contact between Shuttle and Mir using amateur radio equipment.

STS-56 Mission Specialist Ellen Ochoa KB5TZZ plays the flute in space shuttle Discovery’s aft flight deck in April 1993. Credit: NASA

STS-56 was a Space Shuttle Discovery mission to perform special experiments. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 8, 1993.

There were four radio hams on STS-56, Kenneth D. Cameron KB5AWP, Mike Foale KB5UAC, Ellen Ochoa KB5TZZ, Kenneth Cockrell KB5UAH.

Ellen Ochoa KB5TZZ was the first Hispanic woman to go into space. She went on to complete four space shuttle flights and become Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center.

The primary payload of the flight was the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-2 (ATLAS-2), designed to collect data on the relationship between the sun’s energy output and Earth’s middle atmosphere and how these factors affect the ozone layer. It included six instruments mounted on a Spacelab pallet in the cargo bay, with the seventh mounted on the wall of the bay in two Get Away Special canisters.

Narrated by the Commander and crew, this video contains footage selected by the astronauts, as well as their comments on the mission. Footage includes launch, onboard crew activities, and landing.

The amateur radio aspect of the mission features at 09:58 into the video.

Watch Space Shuttle STS-56 Discovery ATLAS-2 pt1-2 Post Flight Press 1993 NASA

Watch Space Shuttle STS-56 Discovery ATLAS-2 pt2-2 Post Flight Press 1993 NASA

20th Anniversary of Historic Spaceflight

Helen Sharman GB1MIRHelen Sharman GB1MIR became the United Kingdom’s first astronaut when she blasted off from Baikonur in Kazakhstan at 1250 GMT on May 18, 1991 on her way to the Mir space station

She won her place in space when in 1989 she answered as advertisement she heard on the car radio that said “Astronaut wanted. No experience necessary.”

Helen was selected from over 13,000 applicants to join the scientific space mission Project Juno.

She spent 8 days in space and operated Amateur Radio using her special call sign GB1MIR in the 2m band. While in space she carried out a range of experiments that included studying how weightlessness affects people, plants and the growth of crystals.

Watch a CNN video about her space flight

Helen recently attended the celebration to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarins flight, see

A picture of Helen Sharman receiving the GB1MIR license from Richard Horton G3XWH can be seen at