ASTRONAUT Tim Peake has wished ‘beautiful planet Earth’ a happy new year in a message from space.
Major Peake, who grew up in Westbourne and is a former University of Portsmouth student, sent the message from the International Space Station, where he docked last month.
The message was beamed on to screens at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay event just before midnight on Thursday, while it also appeared online.
He said: ‘Hello UK and welcome on board the International Space Station. Up here we work on Greenwich Mean Time, which means we will be celebrating at the same time as everybody else in the UK.
“I would like to wish everybody on our beautiful planet earth a very fun New Year’s Eve and happy, healthy 2016. Happy New Year.’
He finished with a flourish, completing a back-flip as fireworks went off around him.
The 43-year-old former Army Air Corps officer and helicopter test pilot is the first Briton aboard the space station and the first fully British professional astronaut employed by a space agency.
Previous ‘Brits in space’ have either had US or dual citizenship or been on privately funded or sponsored trips.