On Tuesday this week, Britain’s own Tim Peake is set to make history when he launches into space on a six-month mission for the European Space Agency (ESA).
He will be the first Brit to serve on the International Space Station (ISS) on a UK government sponsored assignment. The Horizon Tim Peake Special will look at how the 43 year old married father-of-two went from British Army Air Corps officer – leaving with the rank of major – to astronaut. While other UK-born astronauts have gone into orbit through NASA or with assistance from the Russian Space Agency, what makes Peake’s mission unique is that fact it’s a UK government sponsored programme. He will be the first UK astronaut in space for more than 20 years.
All three astronauts have been preparing for the experiments, plus they’ve undergone medical check-ups and extreme physical training. They’ve also been trained to perform spacewalks. Peake has also been learning to speak Russian.
Talking about launch day, he says. “Of course there’s going to be some apprehension, you’re sat on top of 300 tonnes of fuel, and you’re basically just going to be focused on the mission and what’s to come.”
Horizon Tim Peake Special: How To Be An Astronaut, BBC2, Sunday, 8pm