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Tim Peake

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Timothy Peake
Timothy Peake, official portrait.jpg
Tim Peake in 2013
Nationality British
Status Active
Born Timothy Nigel Peake
(1972-04-07) 7 April 1972 (age 43)[1]
Chichester, West Sussex, England
Other occupation
Test pilot
Previous occupation
British Army officer
University of Portsmouth (BSc)
Rank Major
Time in space
currently in space
Selection 2009 ESA Group
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
4 hours, 43 minutes
Missions Soyuz TMA-19M (Expedition 46/47)
Mission insignia
Soyuz-TMA-19M-Mission-Patch.png ISS Expedition 46 Patch.png ISS Expedition 47 Patch.png

Timothy Nigel Peake (born 7 April 1972) is a former regular British Army Air Corps officer (now a Reservist) and a current European Space Agency astronaut[2] and International Space Station (ISS) crew member.

He is the first British ESA astronaut, the sixth person born in the United Kingdom to visit the International Space Station (the first was NASA astronaut Michael Foale in 2003) and the seventh UK-born person in space (the first was Helen Sharman, who visited Mir as part of Project Juno in 1991).[3] He began the ESA's intensive astronaut basic training course in September 2009 and graduated on 22 November 2010.[4]

Early life[edit]

Peake was born in Chichester, West Sussex.[1] He studied at the Chichester High School for Boys, leaving in 1990 to attend the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.[5]


Military and aeronautical[edit]

Upon graduation from Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1992, Peake served as a platoon Commander with the Royal Green Jackets.[6] Peake became a qualified helicopter pilot in 1994 and a qualified flight instructor in 1998, graduating from the Defence Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury[7] in Shropshire. In 2005, he graduated from the Empire Test Pilots School in Wiltshire and was awarded the Westland's Trophy for best rotary wing student.

Peake completed a BSc (Hons) in Flight Dynamics & Evaluation at the University of Portsmouth the following year.[8] Peake left the army in 2009 after 17 years of service and over 3,000 flying hours to his credit, becoming a test pilot with AgustaWestland.[9][10]


Peake on the NEEMO 16 mission

Peake beat over 8,000 other applicants for one of the six places on the ESA's new astronaut training programme. The selection process included taking academic tests, fitness assessments and several interviews.[11] Peake moved to Cologne with his family for the ESA training.[12]

Peake has become the first British or UK-born person to fly into space without a private contract (Helen Sharman – the first Briton in space[13]) or foreign citizenship (Michael Foale, Gregory H. Johnson, Piers Sellers, Nicholas Patrick,[14] Richard Garriott and Mark Shuttleworth).

On 16 April 2012, NASA announced that Peake would serve as an aquanaut aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory during the NEEMO 16 undersea exploration mission, scheduled to begin on 11 June 2012 and last twelve days.[15][16] The NEEMO 16 crew successfully "splashed down" at 11:05 am on 11 June.[17] On the morning of 12 June, Peake and his crewmates officially became aquanauts, having spent over 24 hours underwater.[18] The crew safely returned to the surface on 22 June.[19]

During Expedition 44 Timothy Peake served as a backup astronaut for Soyuz TMA-17M spaceflight.[20][21]

International Space Station mission[edit]

Peake was launched to the International Space Station (ISS), on 15 December 2015, for Expeditions 46 and 47.[22][23] He launched successfully at 11:03 GMT from Baikonur Cosmodrome[24] on board Soyuz TMA-19M. The official website dedicated to his mission is[25]

During launch, as per tradition, each cosmonaut was allowed three songs to be played to them. Tim chose Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now", U2's "Beautiful Day" and Coldplay's "A Sky Full of Stars".[26]

Whilst docking, the Kurs docking navigation system failed, and a manual docking was performed by Yuri Malenchenko. This delayed docking with the ISS by 10 minutes. The Soyuz finally docked with the ISS at 17:33 GMT.[27] Peake received messages of support from the Queen and Elton John, after the successful docking.[28] His first meal at the ISS was a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea.[29]

A new years message by Tim Peake was broadcast by the BBC to celebrate 2016.[30][31]

Peake supported a spacewalk by two American astronauts on 21 December 2015. He participated in the first spacewalk outside the ISS by a British astronaut on 15 January 2016. The purpose of the spacewalk was to replace a faulty sequential shunt unit on the station's solar arrays.[32]

International Space Station partnership and the Nobel Peace Prize[edit]

At the UK National Student Space Conference in early 2014, Peake expressed his support for the initiative to award the International Space Station partnership the Nobel Peace Prize.

"I was delighted to read about the International Space Station and the discussions about it being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because … it has been one of the most incredible international partnerships...[The ISS] really has brought many nations together through difficult times, and continues to do so."

Peake noted that with increasing constraints on space programs around the world, collaborative initiatives such as ISS will be necessary for future endeavours. "I think [the ISS] really has to be the model for future space exploration because with budgets becoming more and more constrained, then, really one nation is not going to have the capability to expand exploration out into the solar system, to Mars and beyond. We are going to have to work together on projects."[35]

Personal life[edit]

Peake is married to Rebecca, with whom he has two sons, and enjoys climbing, caving, cross-country running and triathlon.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b PEAKE, Timothy Nigel. Who's Who 2016 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ "ESA prepares for the next generation of human spaceflight and exploration by recruiting a new class of European astronauts". European Space Agency. 20 May 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2009. 
  3. ^ "Tim Peake launch: The seven Britons to go to space". 
  4. ^ Jonathan Amos (22 November 2010). "Europe's new astronauts graduate". BBC News. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  5. ^ Bremner, Charles; Henderson, Mark; Devlin, Hannah (20 May 2009). "Briton Major Timothy Peake named as Europe's latest astronaut". London: Times Online. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  6. ^ Sample, Ian (21 May 2009). "European Space Agency recruits test pilot as Britain's first official astronaut". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  7. ^ "Space ace Tim's early grounding at RAF Shawbury". Shropshire Star. 16 December 2015. p. 1. 
  8. ^ "Astronaut biography". 5 October 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  9. ^ "AgustaWestland Test Pilot Selected For Astronaut Training". AgustaWestland. 20 May 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  10. ^ Peter Jackson (20 May 2009). "It's ground control to Major Tim". BBC News. Retrieved 21 May 2009. 
  11. ^ Gray, Richard (31 May 2009). "Britain's first official astronaut Tim Peake defends sending humans into space". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  12. ^ Sample, Ian (23 March 2010). "Lift-off for new space agency which aims to rocket UK out of recession". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  13. ^ "On This Day: 1991: Sharman becomes first Briton in space". BBC News. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  14. ^ Jonathan Amos (20 May 2009). "Europe unveils British astronaut". BBC News. Retrieved 20 May 2009. 
  15. ^ NASA (16 April 2012). "NASA – NASA Announces 16th Undersea Exploration Mission Dates and Crew". NASA. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  16. ^ Peake, Tim (29 April 2012). "NEEMO 16 – In search of an asteroid". European Space Agency. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  17. ^ The NEEMO Mission Management and Topside Support Team (11 June 2012). "NEEMO 16 Mission Day 1 – Status Report" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  18. ^ The NEEMO Mission Management and Topside Support Team (12 June 2012). "NEEMO 16 Mission Day 2 – Status Report" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  19. ^ The NEEMO Mission Management and Topside Support Team (22 June 2012). "NEEMO 16 Mission Day 12 – Status Report" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "Expedition 44 Backup Crew Members". NASA. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  21. ^ Evans, Ben (21 July 2015). "All-Civilian Soyuz TMA-17M Crew Ready for Wednesday Launch to Space Station (Part 2)". America Space. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  22. ^ "Tim Peake passes final Soyuz exam". BBC News. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2015. 
  23. ^ "Roscosmos Announces New Soyuz/Progress Launch Dates". NASA. 9 June 2015. 
  24. ^ "Briton Tim Peake blasts off for space". BBC News. 15 December 2015. 
  25. ^ "Principia". Archived from the original on 2015-11-13. 
  26. ^ "British ISS astronaut Tim Peake reveals blast-off playlist music includes U2, Queen and Coldplay". 
  27. ^ Richardson, Derek (15 December 2015). "Astronaut trio launches to, docks with space station in Soyuz TMA-19M". Spaceflight Insider. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  28. ^ "Tim Peake: 'Loving every minute' of first days in space". BBC News. Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
  29. ^ "Pig in space: astronaut Tim Peake's first meal in orbit was a bacon sandwich". The Guardian. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
  30. ^ "Tim Peake's New Year message from International Space Station". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-01-01. 
  31. ^ "Astronaut Tim Peake says Happy New Year to 'beautiful planet Earth'". Retrieved 2016-01-01. 
  32. ^ editor, Paul Rincon Science; website, BBC News. "Tim Peake set for first spacewalk by British astronaut". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-01-06. 
  33. ^ "Tim Peake: Life in space is 'absolutely spectacular". BBC News. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
  34. ^ "Tim Peake Gives News Conference From Space". Sky News. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
  35. ^ Andrew Henry (19 March 2014). "Astronaut Tim Peake Comments on the ISS Partnership and the Nobel Peace Prize". Space Safety Magazine. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  36. ^ "Astronaut Biography: Timothy Peake". Retrieved 17 January 2015. 

External links[edit]