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British Astronaut Tim Peake Has Returned To Earth

No more zero-gravity bacon sandwiches or orbital cups of tea.

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Updated on

Tim Peake, the British astronaut, has returned to Earth after 186 days in space.

He safely touched down in Kazakhstan this morning.

Touchdown at 09:15 GMT! Welcome home @astro_timpeake , @astro_tim and Cmdr Yuri Malenchenko

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During those last six months on board the International Space Station, he's had a pretty wild time.

His journey began in Kazakhstan, with Brian Cox cheering him on from the Science Museum in London.

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Once he got into space, he immediately started being incredibly British.

What makes a good leader? @StationCDRKelly having a hot bacon sarnie waiting as my 1st meal on #ISS. Boy that tasted good! #Principia

1st 48hrs on #ISS - busy but incredible. Amazing how fast the body adapts to new environment. Found my tea...life is good! #Principia

Cup of tea and a bacon sarnie, proper job.

Then he started to find his way around, and look out into space. This was his first photo.

Photo from today – not much chance to play with the camera yet! Goodnight from space. #Principia

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“We always talk about seeing the view of Earth, and how beautiful it is, so you sort of expect it,” he said. “But we don’t talk about what it’s like when you look in the opposite direction.

“It’s the blackest black, and you realise how small the Earth is, in all that blackness.”

Then he did his first spacewalk

Today’s exhilarating #spacewalk will be etched in my memory forever – quite an incredible feeling!

…with, adorably, a picture of his two young sons attached to the sleeve of his space suit.

@astro_timpeake thank you for taking our boys with you into the vacuum of space 😍🚀🇬🇧👣

Then he started to take more and more amazing photos.

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Seriously. They're enough to make you want to close down your Instagram, because you'll just never be able to compete.

I mean, come on.

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And as if that wasn't enough, he took beautiful videos as well, like this time-lapse of lightning storms.

Amazing how much lightning can strike our planet in a short time #Principia #timelapse https://t.co/XijV5E1pI0

Oh, and he ran the London marathon while he was up there, as well.

.@astro_timpeake has finished his #LondonMarathon in space! Estimated time 3:35:21. @Astro_Jeff comes to applaud Tim

And made further history by being the first person to be in space while being named among the Queen's Birthday Honours.

He was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, for services to space research and scientific education.

All in all he's been pretty busy. Now he's coming home, two weeks later than originally planned.

This was Peake's last tweet from space.

Time to put on some weight! What an incredible journey it has been– thank you for following & see you back on Earth!

Earlier, at around 3:35am UK time, Peake, US astronaut Tim Kopra, and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko got into the Soyuz capsule which brings astronauts back down to Earth.

Then they closed the hatch and made sure there were no leaks from the capsule or their suits, because you really, really don't want leaks. And they put on belts which record their medical data – pulse, blood pressure and so on – and send it back to mission control in Moscow, so they can be monitored during the re-entry.

Then at 6:51am, they got the command to undock from the ISS.

So they opened the clamps that hold the module to the station. That released some springs which push the module gently away. When the module was 20 metres away, it fired its rockets to move even further away.

Then it orbited for another two hours, firing its rockets again to slow itself down, so it could enter the atmosphere.

As did so the module reached temperatures of up to about 1,600°C.

And the astronauts experienced enormous G-forces as their little spacecraft slowed down. Sometimes people black out.

When the Soyuz was 10km (6 miles) above the ground, a parachute opened.

That slowed it down from about 860km/h (540mph) to 324 km/h (200mph).

And then it thumped to the ground, pretty hard.

Rockets fired just before it landed to slow it down some more, but the European Space Agency (ESA) still compares the landing to a "small car crash". Search-and-rescue teams will find them, and they'll get Tim and Tim out of there.

And then Tim will get to see his sons and his wife again.

After six long months.

After that, he'll go through debriefing, and then he'll settle into work with ESA – possibly getting ready for a new mission, or possibly working on training other astronauts, or possibly just going to schools and talking to people about space.

Welcome back, Major Peake.

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