First official UK astronaut all set for space mission

Timothy Peake, better known as Tim Peake, is ready to become the first UK astronaut to make a flight to the ISS or International Space Station under the banner of the ESA (European Space Agency). The former helicopter pilot along with his co-astronauts Yuri Malenchenko, a Russian and Tim Kopra, an American, will be launching on a Russian Soyuz rocket at Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome, the world’s largest operational space launch facility.

When spending time on the ISS, Peake will be carrying out experiments and performing educational activities designed for increasing young people’s interest in science.

For those who don’t know: the first British citizen to visit space was Helen Sharman. She traveled to space station Mir way back in 1991. Sharman’s journey to space was part of a cooperative venture between the British business and Soviet government.

According to Sharman, the launch day is absolutely special as it’s the day when astronauts get the chance of doing what they have been trained for doing for such a long time. She added that she underwent training for 18 months and said that Peake will have to be trained for 6 years before flying.

The crew has been kept in quarantine for a couple of weeks prior to the launch so that they don’t fall sick in space. They woke up exactly at 02:00 GMT and had breakfast. This was followed by a brief farewell ceremony. Finally, they left for cosmonaut hotel in Baikonur, where they will be undergoing medical tests.

After the tests, the crew will have to get into their Sokol suits, the outfits to be worn during the launch and reentry. Then, after bidding the final goodbye to their friends and families, the crew boarded a bus at around 08:00 GMT. The bus ride took them to the launch pad, from where they will be reaching the top of the Russian Soyuz rocket.

Next, Peake and colleagues will get strapped onto their seats, which will allow them to get ready for the launch. The thruster units of the Soyuz launcher will be igniting at 11:03 GMT, notwithstanding any unforeseen obstacle. Following this, the astronauts will be blasting into the orbit for starting their 6-hour journey to the International Space Station.