British Astronaut Tim Peake Will Join the International Space Station Crew Today

By Gerald Lynch on at

UK astronaut Tim Peake is making his final preparations before shooting off to the International Space Station this morning.

Launching on a Russian Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Peake will make history by becoming the first official British astronaut to join the ISS crew. The ex-helicopter pilot will be joined by American Tim Kopra and Russian Yuri Malenchenko, taking off from Site 1 – the same pad where Yuri Gagarin made the monumental first flight into space.

Peake isn't the first British born person to go to space – he's actually the eighth, with Helen Sharman the first British citizen to travel to space as part of a cooperative venture between the Soviet government and British business for a trip to Mir in 1991– but he's the first still with British nationality, representing Britain as part of the European Space Agency (ESA) team.

Following 6,000 hours of training, Peake's mission includes completing experiments and educational activities that aim to get a new generation of star gazers interested in space travel.

It will take about six hours to reach the space station, with the capsule expected to dock at 17.23GMT. Peake will then spend six months on the space station.