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Rocket Science - UK and Russia in orbit


Event video


16:30 - 17:30


The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG


Public lecture by British astronaut, Helen Sharman, and former Soviet Cosmonaut, Anatoly    Artsebarsky as part of the 2012 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.

Organised by the Science & Innovation Network (SIN)-Russia and the Royal Society. 

Event details

From the first human manned space flight piloted by Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1 in 1961 and the first spacewalk outside a space craft in 1965 by Cosmonaut, Alexey Leonov, Soviet engineers and cosmonauts have made their mark in manned space travel. Join British astronaut, Dr Helen Sharman, and former Soviet cosmonaut, Anatoly Artsebarsky, as they talk about their rigorous 18 month training at Star City, their joint flight to the Mir Space Station in 1991, the research science they carried out on board and what it is like to live in zero gravity, and how it feels to walk outside the space station.

British Astronaut, Helen Sharman OBE was the first Briton in orbit. On 18 May 1991, Helen 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 British schoolchildren. 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.

Former Soviet Cosmonaut, Anatoly Pavlovich Artsebarsky flew aboard Soyuz TM-12 in 1991 with Helen Sharman and docked with the Mir Space Station where he spent almost 5 months in space with fellow Russian Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev while the rest of the crew including Helen flew back to Earth after eight days. Anatoly took six spacewalks during his Mir EO-9 mission and spent over 33 hours walking in space. Anatoly and Sergei Krikalev (the cosmonaut who has the world record for the longest time spent in space) were almost stuck at the station as they were in orbit during the Soviet coup attempt of 1991. Anatoly was made a Hero of the Soviet Union and Pilot-Cosmonaut of the USSR and was awarded the Order of Lenin and the Medal For Merit in Space Exploration. This special event has been jointly organised by the Science & Innovation Network (SIN)-Russia and the Royal Society. SIN-Russia works to enhance world class collaborations in science & innovation between the UK and Russia. It is jointly funded by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office & the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. 

Enquiries: Contact the events team.

Rocket Science - UK and Russia in orbit The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK