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Saluting Britain’s first official astronaut, Tim Peake

Tim Peake: a suitably epic name for an epic mission; he’s the first government sponsored British astronaut ever. While other Brits have exited earth’s atmosphere before, they’ve only ever done so as part of cooperatives with companies or other countries, or by making their way through the American space program. Peake though, he’s the real limey deal.

It’s not until 2015 and in November to boot, but Peake will be leaving the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, heading to the International Space Station for a six month stay as a flight engineer. Along with any needed spacewalks and docking procedures, it’s not known at the moment what experiments or testing Peake might perform.

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Peake seen here inspecting a Russian space suit at the Gargarin training centre in Moscow. Source: Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre

He should be ready though, having been training for this since 2009 and chosen as one of six from over eight thousand applicants for the EU Space Agency astronaut corps.

Like the recently famous Chris Hadfield, Peake is expecting to spend some time up there on Twitter, but he has said he won’t be taking a guitar. “I do play guitar, but quite badly and I wouldn’t want to inflict my singing [on everyone],” he said.

Not only is Peake’s appointment to the ISS a landmark in British space faring history, it’s seen as a turning point in the country’s commitment to space. By sending one of our own into the great black nowhere, Britain is more likely to increase funding to international space efforts. According to Wired’s coverage, this could help boost Britain’s burgeoning space industry, which is currently worth around £9 billion.

KitGuru Says: Kudos to Mr Peake. We wish him all the best and look forward to seeing him fly the flag from several hundred miles up.

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