Westbourne astronaut Tim does a zero gravity somersault for the camera at first press conference from space

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Astronaut Major Tim Peake has held his first press conference from the International Space Station.

In it Major Peake, from Westbourne, demonstrated a somersault and described tea on board ISS as ‘tasty’.

Major Tim Peake speaking during a press conference from the International Space Station

Major Tim Peake speaking during a press conference from the International Space Station

The 43-year-old former Army Air Corp officer answered questions from journalists, including ITV Meridian’s Fred Dinenage.

Mr Dinenage, who used to present children’s science show How, said: ‘It made my year when you said How was your inspiration for going into science.

‘Do you still love science?’

Maj Peake replied: ‘Of course I’m still in love with science.

‘It’s what got me up here and what’s going to bring me home safely.’

And he sent his very best wishes to all in Westbourne and the rest of the UK saying: ‘In about an hour and a half (4pm) we’ve got the most wonderful pass right over the south of England.

‘Sending lots of Christmas messages and good luck to everybody. Thank you so much for supporting this mission.’

Asked whether he had managed to master the zero gravity somersault he said: ‘I definitely haven’t mastered it.

‘I’ll give you a trial’ – and did an ungainly backwards flip,

He described the feeling of being in zero gravity as ‘a bit like the first time I put on a pair of skis.

‘It takes a while to become proficient, orientated.’

He said he may be working on the roof one moment and suddenly lose his sense of direction.

He added: ‘It’s amazing how quick your brain adapts to that.

‘Another week and I will be extremely comfortable working in this environment.’

Maj Peake will be on the ISS for the next six months.

But there will be some downtime in between the gruelling experiments he will be carrying out.

On Monday he and the crew will have a screening of the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens.

He said the whole crew were Star Wars fans and added: ‘It’s a little bit later than everyone else but, hey, what a place to see it?’