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First Briton in space

(39 Posts)
Lilygran Tue 15-Dec-15 10:33:32

I'm not usually given to knee-jerk feminist responses but I am quite cross about this! The BBC has been particularly bad at misrepresenting the facts in this case but so have a number of newspapers. It is great that the UK is - finally- officially contributing to to the International Space Station. It wouldn't detract from this or from Tim Peake's achievement to acknowledge the pioneering role of a woman, Helen Sharman, the first Briton in space in 1991. I've seen it suggested that Tim is really the first because he's publicly funded or will be the first Briton to 'wear the Union Jack' in space. Look at the picture!

Teetime Tue 15-Dec-15 10:35:09

I'm going to be watching the lift off and wishing Tim well he seems like an incredible human being. God Bless him.

Gagagran Tue 15-Dec-15 10:46:59

There's great excitement around here because Tim and his family live in the same village as DD and her family - just 1 mile from us! I think they are all so brave to do this exploration of space - it would scare me to death and I would be so anxious about getting back to earth. Go safely Tim!

WilmaKnickersfit Tue 15-Dec-15 11:01:52

Everything I have seen refers to Tim as the first Briton to work on the ISS. Helen is at the Science Museum with the presenters and they will be speaking to her during the programme. They've acknowledged Helen several times already. It is a shame though that they don't have her along side the presenters, although she's with another legendary cosmonaut, so maybe she's his guide or something.

WilmaKnickersfit Tue 15-Dec-15 11:03:29

It does say on the BBC website that Tim is the first official UK astronaut. Previous "British" astronauts have either had US citizenship and worked for Nasa or been privately funded.

WilmaKnickersfit Tue 15-Dec-15 11:15:58

Simply amazing. I would love to be him.

Teetime Tue 15-Dec-15 11:21:57

Just saw him go- what an emotional moment!!! I had to put a few drops of brandy in my coffee!!

chelseababy Tue 15-Dec-15 11:49:45

Thought it said Fern Britton in space at first glance

Tegan Tue 15-Dec-15 12:10:08

As a pessimistic person who suffers from claustrophobia and fear of heights I was a wreck...especially after watching the programme about him that said how many rocket thingy's had blown up recently shock. My theory on life is that the more we 'big something up' the more chance there is of something going wrong hmm. I never got over the other one [Challenger???].

Greyduster Tue 15-Dec-15 12:19:31

Where do the BBC get their information from? Helen Sharman was born here in Sheffield and studied Sheffield University. As far as i know her British citizenship has never been in doubt. Her flight was sponsored by the russians and a consortium of British businesses. I was full of emotion watching Tim Peake today. I watched him waving at his son through the glasss window and it was heartbreaking. His wife is a very brave lady. I would have locked him in a cupboard until the rocket took off!

apricot Tue 15-Dec-15 19:16:24

I can't get excited about this, nor any space exploration.
I just want to know what it's costing the British taxpayer while thousands of families face a miserable Christmas, disabled children wait for wheelchairs or speech therapy, old people are isolated without buses or get home help in 10 minute rations. And so on and so on. Why is there such deprivation in such a wealthy country?
There are vast sums of money for Tim Peake and for bombs dropped on Syria, there's less and less for the poor, ill or disadvantaged.

annodomini Tue 15-Dec-15 20:01:07

I've just this minute seen Tim Peake floating into the ISS and my heart skipped a beat. I was definitely born 50 years too soon!

Jane10 Tue 15-Dec-15 21:03:14

I was in tears watching his lovely wee boy counting down and saying "byebye Daddy". All I could think of was that David Bowie song "Ground control to Major Tom". I'm not interested in the slightest in space stuff but really hope Tim makes it back safely to his lovely family.

Anniebach Wed 16-Dec-15 10:23:08

Wonder what it costs us and what will this planet gain , we live on a planet gripped by war , hunger etc and we go nosing in space . This country is closing down such basic things as libraries in rural areas but find money for one man to explore space. I realy think it so wrong but accept some find it exciting

thatbags Wed 16-Dec-15 10:40:30

It's silly that it is felt important when giving news about what Brits do that making the distinction between private and foreign funding (as in Helen Sharman's case) and public funding (as in Tim Peake's) is seen as important.
Have a great ride, Tim Peake, and work hard up there, but you are not the first Brit in space.

And talking of work, one of the reasons I'm in favour of space exploration is because of all the amazing science that results from it, science that benefits the Earth in manifold ways. And things that benefit the Earth benefit people.

Hunger across the world is reducing as we speak, as are infant and maternal mortality rates, and many other bad things. Science research achieved this. A lot of science is done in space and a lot more results from research because of space exploration. The benefits are often indirect and they are not shouted about enough but they are there allright. Understanding more through science is always a good thing in the end.

Anniebach Wed 16-Dec-15 11:16:36

Sorry cannot see the link between science in space and the lowering of mortality rate in the third world, more hospitals built, better medical care does not come from science it comes from people caring for people

thatbags Wed 16-Dec-15 14:43:16

You're right about improvements in health care coming from giving people better care but a great deal of better medical care comes from the science of disease. Don't dis science.

A lot of people don't see the connection between space science and benefits on Earth. That doesn't mean there are none.

Actual knowledge about how the solar system (and, who knows, one day possibly the universe) works is a result of people doing what others thought was pointless science. Some people even thought what they were doing was wicked and against god. Some still do.

thatbags Wed 16-Dec-15 14:44:05

Better knowledge and better education about our planet and how it works is better for everyone, I reckon.

SloeGinny Thu 17-Dec-15 08:55:56

Can only echo what thatbags has said, science and the advancement of knowledge is important.

SloeGinny Thu 17-Dec-15 08:59:55

...and completely agree with the OP, great that Major Tim is on this trip, but Helen Sharman was the first.

SueDoku Thu 17-Dec-15 11:05:06

And if you look on the BBC's 'On This Day' page, it describes Helen as 'the first British astronaut...' So why are they now pretending that Tim is..? Sorry, but I've spent several days being irritated by this, and as I'm fascinated by space exploration it's really bugging me hmm

MiniMouse Thu 17-Dec-15 11:08:40

SueDoku I think it's because Tim is the first publicly funded British astronaut. Helen had to become a US citizen to go into space via NASA. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong!

Elegran Thu 17-Dec-15 11:21:25

I've just seen that "The last time a Briton flew in space without taking US citizenship was in 1991 when Helen Sharman visited the Russian Mir space station" (at

MiniMouse Thu 17-Dec-15 12:04:22

Just found this:

"Major Peake is employed by the European Space Agency and sports a Union flag on his sleeve, which has given rise to his status as a British living legend in space but former chemist Helen Sharman visited the Mir space station in May 1991.

Her trip was made possible by a private programme called Project Juno, and paid for jointly by the USSR and a consortium of British companies."

Read more:

MiniMouse Thu 17-Dec-15 12:06:05

All of which seems to mean that Helen Sharman was the first Briton in space, but she didn't qualify as a Brit because of the method of funding tchhmm