UPDATE - Tim Peake boards the International Space Station

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Tim Peake has boarded the International Space Station after a six hour journey from Earth.

The ex-Army helicopter pilot from Westbourne, near Emsworth, blasted off into orbit from a base in Kazakhstan today, becoming the first British astronaut to join the crew of the International Space Station.

Tim Peake ahead of the launch. Picture:: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

Tim Peake ahead of the launch. Picture:: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

The Soyuz space capsule carrying Major Peake and fellow crew members Russian Yuri Malenchenko and American Tim Kopra, docked with the ISS high above the Earth at around 5.30pm.

Ahead of the historic take-off, Major Peake, sent a final tweet, giving the thumbs-up.

He said: “Last tweet before launch - GO for flight! Thanks for all the good luck messages - phenomenal support!”

He was pictured signing a door at the cosmonaut hotel, a tradition before departure. He then left to suit up.

The European Space Agency tweeted that fuelling has begun - filling the Russian rocket with 274 tonnes of fuel.

Agency official said it would take the crew eight minutes and 48 seconds to reach orbit following take-off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.