Monday, May 20, 2013

In 2015 the first British person will "officially" go into space

I just read this interesting article in via Sky News today:

The British space industry is being given a boost with confirmation that Britain's first official astronaut is to take part in a mission on the International Space Station in 2015.

Major Tim Peake has undergone 14 months of rigorous training, which has included survival courses and exercises under water and underground.

Now almost three years after graduating as an astronaut, the 41-year-old former major and helicopter pilot in the British Army Air Corps has been selected to fly on a five-month mission on the international space station.

He has been training under water, underground, completed survival courses and now, almost three years after graduating as an astronaut, he has been selected for a five-month mission on the ISS.

Canada's singing spaceman Chris Hadfield has used social media to give incredible insight into life in orbit. His tour ended last week - and Peake's will start in two years' time.

Speaking after his selection for the programme, he said: "I applied to become an astronaut with the European Space Agency because I believe for me it's a unique opportunity in my life to become part of a team that can have such a positive impact on society.

"I believe humankind faces some enormous challenges this century, and the space arena is going to be fundamental in overcoming some of those challenges."

Peake will face his own personal challenges - getting used to life without gravity, and his family.

His living quarters during the mission will be barely the size of a phone box.

Space writer Nick Spall said: "Space can make lots of money. The satellite industry's very successful, but space isn't just about building satellites or building robots to explore the solar system.

"It's also human space flight as well, and all the developed countries, and in particular the emerging developed countries, China, India, are commiting themselves to human space flight, so it's a case of Britain joining in."

Although British-born adventurers like Helen Sharman and Piers Sellers have been into space before, Peake will officially be the first British astronaut.

The others either took American citizenship or their missions were privately funded.

But when his Soyuz rocket blasts off from Kazakhstan he will be focused more on where he is going than where he has come from.

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