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May 18
1991: Sharman becomes first Briton in space
[ 2009-05-18 09:17 ]

May 18
British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin: agreement of "historic significance"
1950: US and Europe agree NATO aims

England have

Almost exactly a year after signing the North Atlantic Treaty, 12 nations have agreed a permanent organisation for the defence of the United States and Europe.

The final meeting of the fourth session of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or Nato as it has become known, was held in front of cameras at Lancaster House in London.

The 12 foreign ministers sat around a horseshoe table, with the United States Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, at the centre. A large audience of newspaper andnewsreelcorrespondents, cameramen and photographers broadcast their speeches around the world.

"This business of building for peace is a very grim business, and it has to be worked for day in and day out." UK Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin said.

During negotiations over the past few days, the ministers have reached agreement over a communique outlining the aims of the Organisation, and setting out a six-point plan for strengthening ties between their countries.

Key among these was the establishment of a council of deputies, with a permanent chairman and a full-time staff, to put the objectives of the Treaty into action.

Opening the meeting, Mr Acheson thanked all his colleagues for their "tireless efforts" and said that "genuine progress" had been made.

"Throughout its deliberations, the council has recognised that only through coordinated plans and effort could its great objectives be achieved," he said.

He then went on to read the communique which spoke of the principles behind Nato and outlined the objectives the organisation is working towards.

It stressed the importance of seeking a diplomatic solution before military force is used, but where some nations are not willing to cooperate, it said, "the maintenance of peace and the defence of freedom require the organisation of adequate military defence."

The communique also includes directives on defence, finance and economics, and establishes a North Atlantic planning board for shipping.

The British Foreign Minister, Ernest Bevin, called the agreement one of "historic significance".

"I'm afraid we cannot arrive at sensational decisions," he told the meeting. "This business of building for peace is a very grim business, and it has to be worked for day in and day out.

"We must never give up faith in its ultimate trials."

May 18
Helen Sharman won a place in space history after answering an advert for a trainee cosmonaut

1991: Sharman becomes first Briton in space

Artificially 1969:
Britain's first astronaut, 27-year-old Helen Sharman from Sheffield, has blasted into orbit.

The Soviet Soyuz TM-12 space capsule made a textbook launch from the Bakonurcosmodromein the Soviet republic of Kazakhstan at 1350 BST carrying Miss Sharman and fellow cosmonauts Anatoly Artebartsky and Sergei Krikalyov.

Astronaut wanted. No experience necessary

Her parents and sister watched from a viewing stand one kilometre away and saw their daughter smile and wave to the onboard camera.

She carries with her a photograph of the Queen, a butterfly brooch given to her by her father and a "space passport" in case her spacecraft is forced to land outside the Soviet Union.

Woman from Mars

Miss Sharman, a former chemist for the Mars chocolate company, had won her place in space in 1989 after answering an advertisement she heard on the car radio - "Astronaut wanted. No experience necessary."

She was eventually selected from over 13,000 applicants to be the British member of the Russian scientific space mission, Project Juno.

The USSR has already taken a Mongolian, an Afghan, a Cuban, a Syrian and a Japanese journalist to space.

She spent 18 gruelling months training in Star City, 30km north-east of Moscow and now speaks fluent Russian. She has become known among her comrades for her remarkably calm and unruffled nature. She has trained alongside her British back-up Major Tim Mace.

Tomorrow, the Soyuz is due to dock with the Mir space station which has been occupied by two crew members for the last six months.

The British element of the Juno project has had trouble raising funds and the only sponsors to come forward are Interflora, a watch manufacturer and a cassette tape company.

During her eight days in space, Miss Sharman will carry out a series of medical and agricultural experiments.

She will also take part in a radio-ham test with British schools, take photos of the British Isles and see how pansies grow in weightless conditions.




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