Soyuz TM-12: the first British astronaut

Soyuz TM-12Helen Sharman becomes the first British national in space, flying aboard Soyuz TM-12 to the Soviet space station Mir. Making her flight in a seat bought and paid for by a consortium of British commercial interests, Sharman tags along with cosmonauts Anatoly Artsebarsky and Sergei Krikalev, and she spends just a week in orbit before returning with Soyuz TM-13 cosmonaut Toktar Aubakirov. Artsebarsky and Krikalev remain aboard Mir for what is initially planned to be a five-month stay, though a shake-up in the flight schedule forces mission planners to ask Krikalev to stay aboard Mir even after Artsebarsky returns to Earth, resulting in Krikalev remaining on Mir for 10 months, not returning home until 1992 – at which point the Soviet Union will have ceased to exist.