Project Juno
Project Juno was a private British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 space programme, which selected Helen Sharman
Helen Sharman
Helen Patricia Sharman, OBE PhD , is a British chemist. She was the first Briton in space, visiting the Mir space station aboard Soyuz TM-12 in 1991....

 to be the first Briton in space.

As the United Kingdom has never had a human spaceflight
Human spaceflight
Human spaceflight is spaceflight with humans on the spacecraft. When a spacecraft is manned, it can be piloted directly, as opposed to machine or robotic space probes and remotely-controlled satellites....

 programme, a private consortium was formed to raise money to pay the USSR for a seat on a Soyuz
Soyuz programme
The Soyuz programme is a human spaceflight programme that was initiated by the Soviet Union in the early 1960s, originally part of a Moon landing project intended to put a Soviet cosmonaut on the Moon...

 mission to the Mir
Mir was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996, Mir was the first modular space station and had a greater mass than that of any previous spacecraft, holding the record for the...

 space station
Space station
A space station is a spacecraft capable of supporting a crew which is designed to remain in space for an extended period of time, and to which other spacecraft can dock. A space station is distinguished from other spacecraft used for human spaceflight by its lack of major propulsion or landing...

. The USSR had recently flown Toyohiro Akiyama
Toyohiro Akiyama
is a Japanese TV journalist best known for his flight to the Mir space station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in 1990. Akiyama is the first person of Japanese descent to have flown in space. He was known as the "Space Journalist" in Japan....

, a Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

, under a similar arrangement.

A call for applicants was publicized in the UK (one ad read "Astronaut wanted. No experience necessary"), leading to 13,000 applications. Juno selected four candidates to train in the USSR:
  • Gordon Brooks (Royal Navy
    Royal Navy
    The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

     physician, then 33)
  • Major Timothy Mace (Army Air Corps, 33)
  • Clive Smith (Kingston Polytechnic
    Kingston University
    Kingston University is a public research university located in Kingston upon Thames, southwest London, United Kingdom. It was originally founded in 1899 as Kingston Technical Institute, a polytechnic, and became a university in 1992....

     lecturer, 27)
  • Helen Sharman
    Helen Sharman
    Helen Patricia Sharman, OBE PhD , is a British chemist. She was the first Briton in space, visiting the Mir space station aboard Soyuz TM-12 in 1991....

     (food technologist, 26)

Eventually Mace and Sharman were the two finalists, and Sharman was chosen for the flight with Mace as her backup.

The cost of the flight was to be funded by various innovative schemes, including sponsoring by private British companies and a lottery system. Corporate sponsors included British Aerospace
British Aerospace
British Aerospace plc was a UK aircraft, munitions and defence-systems manufacturer. Its head office was in the Warwick House in the Farnborough Aerospace Centre in Farnborough, Hampshire...

, Memorex
Memorex began as a computer tape producer and expanded to become a major IBM plug compatible peripheral supplier. It is now a consumer electronics brand of Imation specializing in disk recordable media for CD and DVD drives, flash memory, computer accessories and other electronics.Established in...

, and Interflora
Interflora is the most commonly used name for a group of organisations worldwide, providing florists with a brand under which flowers can be purchased and delivered to 140 countries, most with their own partnership, or unit.- History :...

, and television rights were sold to ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...


Ultimately the Juno consortium failed to raise the entire sum, and the USSR considered canceling the mission. It is believed that Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 directed the mission to proceed at Soviet cost. Several of the ambitious microgravity experiments that were originally planned were eliminated in favor of experiments designed by British schools that could be done with existing equipment aboard Mir.

Sharman was launched aboard Soyuz TM-12
Soyuz TM-12
-Mission highlights:12th expedition to Mir. Included first Briton in space.The Derbents welcomed aboard Mir Anatoli Artsebarski, Sergei Krikalev , and British cosmonaut-researcher Helen Sharman, who was aboard as part of Project Juno, a cooperative venture partly sponsored by British private...

 on 18 May 1991, and returned aboard Soyuz TM-11
Soyuz TM-11
-Mission highlights:Soyuz TM-11 was launched the same day as STS-35.11th expedition to Mir. Toyohiro Akiyama was a reporter/space tourist for a Japanese television network....

 on 26 May 1991.

Both Sharman and Mace were candidates but not selected in the 1992 and 1998 European Space Agency
European Space Agency
The European Space Agency , established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 18 member states...

 selection rounds for its astronaut corps. Mace did not fly in space, but married the daughter of cosmonaut Vitali Zholobov
Vitali Zholobov
Vitaly Mikhaylovich Zholobov was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew on Soyuz 21 space flight as the flight engineer.-Career:Zholobov joined the space programme from the Soviet Air Force where he held the rank of Colonel-engineer....

. He later was the helicopter
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

 pilot for President of South Africa
President of South Africa
The President of the Republic of South Africa is the head of state and head of government under South Africa's Constitution. From 1961 to 1994, the head of state was called the State President....

 Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...


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