Chichester astronaut to go to space station in 2015

British astronaut Major Timothy Peake''Picture: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire
British astronaut Major Timothy Peake''Picture: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire
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David Curwen, centre, hugs his mother with whom he wa sreunited. Completing the group is his brother Keith

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THE date that Chichester’s Tim Peake will fly to the International Space Station has been announced.

The European Space Agency has announced that Peake will join Expedition 46, launching in November or December 2015.

Peake, whose parents Nigel and Angela live in Westbourne, was a major and a helicopter pilot in the British Army Air Corps and has been in training for an expedition to the ISS since 2009.

The 41-year-old is so far the only Briton ever to be accepted into the European Astronaut Corps.

His mission will make him the first UK national to live and work in space, and to fly the Union flag, on a British-government-funded programme.

All previous UK-born astronauts that have gone into orbit have done so either through US space agency (Nasa) as American citizens or on private ventures organised with help from the Russian space agency.

Peake told reporters: ‘I am delighted to have been assigned to a long-duration mission to the International Space Station.

‘On a personal level, this feels like the high point of an incredibly rewarding career in aviation.

‘It is a huge privilege to be able to fly to space.

‘I look forward to the challenges ahead and I shall be doing my utmost to maximise this opportunity for European science, industry and education to benefit from this mission.’

To get to the ISS Peake will ride a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur in Kazakhstan.

Tasks once in orbit will include helping to maintain the 27,000km/h platform and carrying out science experiments in Esa’s Columbus laboratory, which is attached to the front of the 400-tonne station.

Peake, who went to Chichester High School, has a degree in flight dynamics and is a qualified test pilot.

Helen Sharman was the first Briton to go into space in 1991 and spent a week at the Mir space station.

Peake has a degree in flight dynamics and is a qualified test pilot.