UK astronaut Peake to go into orbit

May 19, 2013
By

Tim PeakeTim Peake was accepted into the European Astronaut Corps in 2009

The UK astronaut Tim Peake has been given a date to fly to the International Space Station (ISS).

The date of the mission is yet to be made public but it will not be before 2015. The European Space Agency (Esa) is to release the details on Monday.

Peake, who was a major and a helicopter pilot in the British Army Air Corps, has been in training for an expedition to the ISS since 2009.

To get there, he will ride a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur in Kazakhstan.

Tasks once in orbit will include helping to maintain the 27,000km/h platform and carrying out science experiments in Esa’s Columbus laboratory module, which is attached to the front of the 400-tonne complex.

Forty-one-year-old Peake hails from Chichester, and is so far the only Briton ever to be accepted into the European Astronaut Corps.

His mission will make him the first UK national to live and work in space, and to fly the Union flag, on a British-government-funded programme (the UK is Esa’s third largest contributor).

All previous UK-born astronauts that have gone into orbit have done so either through the US space agency (Nasa) as American citizens or on private ventures organised with the assistance of the Russian space agency.

“Major Tim” Peake has a degree in flight dynamics and is a qualified test pilot.

When he was selected for astronaut training he was working with the Anglo-Italian helicopter company AgustaWestland.

Helen Sharman was the first Briton to go into space in 1991 on Project Juno, a cooperative project between a number of UK companies and the Soviet government. She spent a week at the Mir space station.

Tim Peake and Michael Foale (Robin McKie)Tim Peake getting some advice from Michael Foale – the most experienced “UK spaceman”

The most experienced British-born astronaut is Nasa’s Michael Foale. He has accumulated 374 days in orbit, completing long-duration missions to both the ISS and Mir.

Major Tim’s assignment is made as British space activity is experiencing a big renaissance.

The space industry in the UK is growing fast, employing tens of thousands of workers and contributing some £9bn in value to the national economy.

The government has also lifted substantially its subscription to Esa, and the agency has responded by opening its first technical base in the country.

Ecsat (European Centre for Space Applications and Telecoms) is sited on the Harwell science campus in Oxfordshire.

There is sure to be huge interest in Major Tim’s adventure.

The recently returned ISS commander, Canadian Chris Hadfield, attracted a big following for his tweets, videos and songs from the platform. His rendition of David Bowie’s A Space Oddity has become a YouTube hit.

It would be hoped that Major Tim could achieve something of the same impact.

Zero-GTim Peake will be the first “official UK astronaut” to go into orbit

Class of 2009He was selected by Esa with five other individuals in the class of 2009

ArmyHis background is in the forces. He still flies with the Territorial Army

Orlan suitTraining has involved learning Russian and using Russian equipment found on the ISS

Robotics trainingHe has also had to become proficient in the robotic systems used on the station

CaveMajor Tim has completed survival training, living underground for a period of days

NeemoLast year, he also lived under water as preparation for a mission to an asteroid

SoyuzA key part of the training has been learning the flight controls of a Soyuz capsule

Major TimMost UK-born astronauts have flown under the Star and Stripes. Major Tim will fly the Union Flag

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22579023#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa The feed :

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