12 spectacular British women’s firsts

7. First Brit in space

Helen Patricia Sharman

After gaining a Bachelor of Science in chemistry in 1984 and a Ph.D from Birbeck, she started working as an engineer for GEC in London before later becoming a chemist for Mars Incorporated. There, she dealt with the flavouring properties of chocolate. At the beginning of 1989, a radio advertisement started asking for applicants who wanted to be the first British astronaut during.

On 25 November, 1989, Sharman was selected to travel into space as part of Project Juno. She spent 18 months in flight training in Star City. At the age of 27, Sharman became the first Brit in space, and still is the fifth youngest of those who have been flown in space. The mission launched on 18 May, 1991, and lasted for eight days. For the most part, Sharman spent her time in space aboard the Mir space station.

8. World’s first female to climb Everest alone and without oxygen

Alison Jane Hargreaves

Alison Hargreaves, born 1962, is often stated to have been one of the greatest mountain climbers in the world. At the age of nine, she climbed Britain’s highest mountain and went on to work in a climb shop.

In 1993 she became the first person to climb, unaided, the six north faces of the Alps in a single season: Eiger, Grandes Jorasses, Matterhorn, Drus, Piz Baile and Cima Grande di Lavaredo. Two years later, she become the second person, and first female, to reach the top of Mount Everest without a partner or extra oxygen. She quickly began making plans to scale K2, in Pakistan, the second highest in the world. On August 13, 1995, Hargreaves reached the summit. However, she never made it back down and he body is yet to be found.

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