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Tim Peake to be first British astronaut in space for more than 20 years

20 May 2013

Former Apache helicopter pilot Tim Peake is to become the first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station.

Tim Peake training in a Soyuz simulator
Tim Peake training in a Soyuz simulator

After three years of training with the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Astronaut Programme, Tim has been selected to live and work on the International Space Station (ISS) for six months. He will carry out a comprehensive science programme and take part in a European education outreach programme in the build up to and during his mission.

Tim is one of six astronauts who have been selected from among 8,000 hopefuls. The flight is expected to take place in November 2015.

Speaking at a special event at the Science Museum in London, Tim Peake said: "I am delighted to be proposed for a long-duration mission to the International Space Station. This is another important mission for Europe and in particular a wonderful opportunity for European science, industry and education to benefit from microgravity research.

"Since joining the European Astronaut Corps in 2009, I have been training to work on the Station and I am extremely grateful to the ground support teams who make it possible for us to push the boundaries of knowledge through human space flight and exploration.”

Tim was appointed as an ambassador for UK science and space-based careers in 2009 and is working with the UK Space Agency in developing the UK’s microgravity research programme. He has been involved in the international Mission X programme, which promotes science careers and healthy lifestyles in schools, and his outreach will continue throughout his training and his time on the International Space Station (ISS).

Tim is the first British ESA astronaut and the second British astronaut that did not have to get US citizenship to fly to space.

Today’s announcement follows increased annual investment by the UK Space Agency in Europe’s space programme to £240m, including a £16m contribution to the ISS, agreed at the ESA Ministerial last November. This is expected to secure £1bn in orders per year for British businesses.

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