The Guardian Erases Helen Sharman From History In The Race To Praise Tim Peake, The ‘First Brit In Space’
THE Observer salutes Tim Peake, “the First Brit in space”.
Only, he isn’t.
The first Briton in space was Helen Sharman. In 1989, she won a contest to make the amazing trip. All other finalists in the search for a British astronaut were men.
Helen, a research technologist for Mars Confectionary, headed to Moscow.
On May 18 1991, Helen Sharman became the first Briton into Space.
She was made an MBE.
But to the Observer, Sharman isn’t really British. Her trip didn’t count.
You’re being called “the first Brit in space”. That’s quite a thing to have on your business card.
Yes, I’ll board the International Space Station in November 2015. Helen Sharman was the first Brit in space back in ’91, but they’re calling me the first official Brit in space because I’m the first UK government astronaut, if you like. Helen’s was a kind of private, commercial-sponsored flight. But yeah, it’s a big deal!
If you get that business card, check it out. It’s wrong.
In 2013, the Guardian had called Peake:
Peake told Wired:
Do you think that the continued references to you being the “first official” British astronaut undermines what Helen Sharman and others achieved before you? Does it really matter?
It does matter. It matters that Helen Sharman was the first British astronaut. I don’t get excited about titles or being “first” or anything. That’s something that’s simply been generated through a number of media articles and events. What is important is that the UK has now joined the ELIPS programme and the human spaceflight programme. That is very important indeed. That makes me the first “official” astronaut. When people say that, I relate it to the fact that I’m an astronaut at a time when the British government has joined the spaceflight programme. But Helen was the first and I would never want to take that away from her.
Good. And better than the Guardian…