Guardian incorrect, misogynistic headline – “First Brit in space…”

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 14.15.06 The Guardian has a piece today about Tim Peake, the second Briton in space. Tim is quoted as saying ” 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.Helen Sharman was the first Briton in space in 1991 when she was just 27. She beat 13,000 other Brits to become the first Brit in space and spent 18 months training in Star City, before her 7 days in space. What a remarkable woman! Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 14.19.25 I read and loved Helen’s book “Seize the moment” and read it when it came out. It is a really straightforward, modest and genuine account of Helen’s life and the whole story thru training and selection to actually being in space. I find it offensive and mysogynist that The Guardian article on Tim Peake has the misleading headline “First Brit in space Tim Peake…”. We should be proud that early on in the space game we selected a woman from 13,000 applicants, shouldn’t we? We do cool, radical things in the UK occasionally, choosing a woman to be Britons first person in space is one of those things. Can any other country boast the same? Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 15.53.12 Helen Sharman should be a well known British icon, but most people have never heard of her. A fabulous woman in STEM. Let’s change that, please do whatever you can to promote Helen and her achievements. #1stbritinspace


  1. Is this misogyny or shockingly bad journalism?

    Fact: Helen Sharman was 1st Brit in space.
    Fact: Michael Foale was 2nd Brit in space (1995) as part of NASA mission.
    Fact: Tim Peake will not be the first British person in space or even the first British man. He will be the first person put in space as part of a British space programme.

      1. Could you at least try to spell “MISOGYNISTIC” correctly, if you are going to accuse crappy newspapers of acting in that manner? It really doesn’t help your case.

    1. It’s just crappy journalism. Why cry misogyny? It’s clearly nothing of the sort.

      But I guess like The Guardian, blogs need to use inflammatory headlines to get clicks too.

    2. Also, Michael Foale gave up his citizenship to fly with NASA. He is English born, but American.

  2. Yes, according to
    Piers Sellers was 3rd (and most recent) Brit in space, flying 3 shuttle missions in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

    Piers Sellers had to become US citizens in order to join the NASA space programme, and Michael Foale already had dual UK/US nationality.

    I recall applying to the Russian MIR space mission competition – the one that Helen Sharman won – in 1989. I was rejected in the 2nd round – can’t remember why – but I had a nice letter from them:)

    This is both misogyny and bad journalism IMO. Expect better from the Guardian.

  3. Don’t forget about Yorkshireman Nicholas Patrick, Alan. He flew in 2006 with Nasa. Also, If you count British-born Nasa astronauts and British-born Spaceflight-Participants ( I don’t like the term Space-Tourist) then Tim Peake is way down the list and Helen Sharman is clearly the first. Promotion of the UK Space ageny’s first aside, the headline is poorly written and helps nothing by forgetting Sharman’s achievement and her name in history.

Leave a Reply to Alan Winfield Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s