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What was the purpose of your space mission and how did it come about?

In the 1980s, the Soviet Space Agency approached western European countries with a view to flying one of their nationals to the Mir Space Station. At the time, the UK Government did not fund human spaceflight but a company was created to manage the Mission to put the first Briton into space on a commercial basis. The Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was supportive and when the company failed to raise sufficient funds, a new agreement was made with the Soviets. This meant flying Soviet experiments but the Mission could continue. It was an important time in UK-Soviet relations. President Gorbachev even called from a telephone in the Kremlin to congratulate us on our docking to Mir and to wish us a successful Mission.