An afternoon with an astronaut

Over 300 attendees from across Liverpool attended the sold out event an ‘Afternoon with Helen Sharman ‘to listen to the inspiring story of what it was really like to become the first British astronaut in space. 

Inspiring the next generation

Staff, students, and members of the community, including 115 pupils, aged 11 to 15, from local schools Chilwall, Halewood, Archbishop Beck, Calderstones and St Francis of Assisi, listened to Helen as she shared aspects of her meticulous training, how weightlessness feels, her science experiments, the team spirit and readjusting to life back on Earth. 

In May 1991, aged 27, Helen became the first British astronaut when she spent 8 days orbiting the Earth. After her successful spaceflight, Helen chose to become a science communicator and speaker. She has since won numerous prizes for radio and TV programmes and for her inspirational talks on teamwork, STEM, science communication and motivation.  

In conversation with Helen

LJMU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mark Power, Executive Director of HR, Tina Purkis, Faculty PVC Engineering and Technology, Professor Nduka Ekere, Registrar and Chief Operating Officer, Professor Claire Milsom and Astrophysics Research Institute’s, Professor Matt Darnley joined Helen on stage following her talk, to ask questions about misconceptions when it comes to science, why STEM subjects are so important and what her career advice would be for the students and pupils in the audience. 

The event, organised by LJMU’s Diversity and Inclusion Team, in collaboration with LJMU’s Outreach Team, is part of LJMU's commitment to continue breaking down barriers in higher education and empower the next generation. The local school children were also encouraged to engage in the Q&A, as they asked the British astronaut, what she missed while she was away from Earth (the weather), and what the biggest surprise about space was (the smell)! 

Words of advice from an astronaut to the next generation

As she shared the story of this momentous moment in British history, she left the audience with some parting words of advice: 

“Remain curious. Seek opportunities. Push limits. Live the best life you can and enjoy being part of this vast and beautiful universe.” 

Events at LJMU

‘An Afternoon with Helen Sharman’ is just one of many events taking place at LJMU during our Bicentenary. 

Find out more about university events and upcoming LJMU Roscoe Lectures. 


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