back to top

A British Man Is Getting Fired Into Space And Here's What You Need To Know

Britain finally has an astronaut of its own.

Posted on

1. Tim Peake is the first ~official~ British astronaut to go to the International Space Station.

Flickr: bisgovuk / Creative Commons

Peake, 43 and from Chichester, joined the first ever European Astronaut Corps in 2009, and will be the first astronaut to go to the ISS with a union flag patch on his suit. Before training to be an astronaut, he spent 18 years as a helicopter pilot with the Army Air Corps.

Helen Sharman was the first Brit in space when she flew to the Mir space station in 1991. But her mission was funded partly by the Russians and partly by British private industry. Other British people have got to space thanks to either having duel citizenship with the US and going as a NASA astronaut, or having enough money to self-fund and go as a space tourist.

2. He launches on Tuesday 15 December at 11:03am GMT...

Peake, along with US astronaut Tim Kopra and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, will join three people already on the ISS. All three will travel to space from Baikonur, Kazakstan, in a Soyuz spacecraft.

They'll enter the spacecraft around 8:33am GMT, two and a half hours before launch.

You can watch the launch from 10:30am on BBC One or online.

3. ... and then reach the ISS just after 5pm.

NASA/Seth Marcantel

The Soyuz spacecraft should dock with the ISS at 5:23pm, and the Soyuz hatch will open for the astronauts to leave around 90 minutes later, once both sides have checked for leaks.

The BBC's Stargazing Live will speak to Peake live from the space station on BBC Two from 7pm Tuesday.

4. These are the three songs he's going to listen to in the spacecraft just before launch.

So here's my rocket music: @QueenWillRock Don't Stop Me Now @U2 Beautiful Day @coldplay A Sky Full of Stars Gonna need to be real loud...๐ŸŽถ๐Ÿš€

Astronauts get to choose their pre-launch playlist, so Peake crowdsourced ideas from Twitter.

You can also listen to Peake's public Spotify playlist of songs he'll listen to while he's in space.

Advertisement

5. He's been in quarantine since November 30.

Now in quarantine, Baikonur. L-15 & counting. Photo from today's Star City departure under Lenin's watchful gaze.

Astronauts spend two weeks in quarantine before their flight to space, so they don't take any unwanted bacteria or viruses up with them.

6. Peake will stay in space for six months.

NASA

He was originally due back on Earth in May 2016, but his mission was just extended by a month โ€“ now he'll be back on 5 June 2016.

That's 173 days in total, making it the sixth longest ESA space mission.

7. He'll be doing lots of science while on board the ISS.

ESA-M. Alexander / esa.int

The mission is called "Principia", after Isaac Newton's work on the laws of motion. The Principia mission logo was chosen from several designed by Blue Peter viewers in a competition.

Peake will be using the unique conditions of the ISS to do experiments that aren't possible on Earth, and test out some new technologies for future space missions.

8. He's also going to run the London Marathon IN SPACE.

BREAKING NEWS: @astro_timpeake will run the Digital #LondonMarathon from space raising awareness for Prince's Trust.

Not content with just living in space for six months, Peake has decided to run the London marathon there too. He'll be tethered to a treadmill with a video of the marathon route playing in front of him.