How Many British Astronauts Have Been on Space Missions?

This article discusses British astronauts. While some of them were forced to abort their space missions a few steps short of the finish line; others went to space and still have beautiful careers in the space industry. Who are they? Find out below.

British astronauts have made quite a name for themselves in the space race; considering that the UK became involved in space programs three years after US and USSR, back in 1962. Great Britain launched many satellites as well. The UK also sent its Black Arrow rocket into space, whereas in 1975; it helped establish the European Space Agency, which brought together 14 other nations to work together on space research projects. Britons now have their own agency but are still valid members of the European Space Agency (ESA); which is now the second-largest space arena actor after NASA. 

Are there any British astronauts?

There are quite a few British astronauts that not too many people know of because this subject is not that vastly covered by media. You might have heard of Helen Sharman and Tim (Timothy) Peake or Michael Foale, but Mark Shuttleworth, Piers Sellers; Nicholas Patrick, Richard Garriott, John Anthony Llewellyn, and Richard Alfred Farrimond are relatively unknown.

The subject of Brits in space has always been discussed in Great Britain; which should excel in every field, being a proud country it has always been. British astronauts like Helen Sharman and Tim Peake have been many times featured in UK news, especially Helen Sharman; who was a chemist for a chocolate company who went into space after answering a radio advertisement stating astronauts are wanted, and no space experience is necessary. Quite a story, isn’t it? 

How many Brits have gone to space?

Six British-born astronauts and another astronaut who was born in South Africa but had British citizenship are among 600+ people who travelled to space. Two other people from this country were getting ready to go but, for various reasons, were never able to launch. Nevertheless, they each contributed their own part to advancing space research; and made sure Great Britain weighed a lot on the international space scene. 

Counting British astronauts on ISS; the British astronaut program boasts five people who have been on the space station so far. Tim Peake spent 186 days there, Pierce Sellers 36 days; Nicholas Patrick 27 days, Richard Garriott 12 days, whereas Mark Shuttleworth stayed only eight days. Tim Peake was the first British astronaut to visit the ISS and remain on board back in 2015. He went with a Soyuz rocket that launched on December 15. 

Tim Peake, most famous British astronaut

British Astronauts

<img alt=”Tim Peake”>

Orbital Today reports that Tim Peake, who was born in Chichester; received a commission as an Army Air Corps officer in 1992 after graduating from Sandhurst’s Royal Military Academy. Before getting a flight instructor license, he served in the military, as both a reconnaissance pilot and a flight commander. After retiring from the Army with a rank of major in 2009; Mr Peake began working as a helicopter test pilot. In May of the same year, he chosen to become an astronaut with the ESA. 

Astronaut Peake selected out of a pool of 8,000 candidates to take one of just six available spots of ESA’s training program. He embarked on his mission to the ISS on December 15, 2015, as a member of Expedition 46. While there, most famous British astronaut so far conducted many experiments; held broadcasts for students and schoolchildren, and even ran the equivalent of 42 km; and 195 meters on ISS’s treadmill to simulate his London Marathon participation.

What missions did British astronauts participate in?

British Astronauts

<img alt=”International Space Station”>

British astronauts who have been in space didn’t participate only in British space missions. Most missions that involved British astronauts were either in collaboration with NASA or with ESA. British space program was never intended to create an astronaut corps. This country tries to stay at the forefront of the international space sector through collaboration; and, lately, building its launch sites. It should also noted that the British government started funding the ISS only in 2011.  

As far as the first British woman astronaut goes; Sharman is also the first female astronaut to ever enter the Mir space station. Research in agriculture and medicine occupied her time for the whole 8-day voyage. She honoured with several accolades upon her return to Sheffield; including a star for her on the city’s Walk of Fame; a doctoral degree in science, and the Order of Friendship of Peoples. There haven’t been any other British woman astronauts to achieve so much, but things could change soon. Considering UK’s investment in new space initiatives and its dedication to building orbital launch sites; we can expect to celebrate more British astronauts soon. 

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