Tim Peake, British astronaut returned to Earth Saturday, following six months in space aboard the International Space Station. Peake, 44, a former British Army Air Corps officer, was one of six selected by the European Space Agency for its new astronaut training programme, beating out 9000 other applicants for his spot.
After completing his intensive training and graduating in 2010, Peake joined the ISS in December of last year along with NASA’s Tim Kopra and Russia’s Yuri Malenchenko. His aim while aboard the ISS was to complete a number of experiments designed to improve our understanding of fundamental science, ranging from physiology to solar physics, a detailed account of which can be found on the website principia.org.uk.
Not only did Peake successfully test new science and technology, he also aimed to inspire those of us left back on the ground, encouraging children to take an active interest in science, and even running the London marathon on a treadmill despite zero gravity.
Peake touched back down to Earth in his Soyuz capsule at around 10.15 British Standard Time, along with two other ISS crew members. By the time Peake arrived home, he had orbited the Earth 2700 times, a distance of over 114 million kilometres.
Peake is the first UK astronaut to complete a spacewalk, the sixth UK-born astronaut aboard the ISS, and only the seventh UK-born astronaut to go into space.