Timothy Peake is 43-years-old, a former army major, and now he is set to become the first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station. When Peake blasts off on a six-month mission for the European Space Agency (ESA) in December, he will also become only the second person from the UK to leave planet Earth, after Helen Sharman travelled on a Soviet spacecraft for eight days in 1991.
Speaking to ITN during a press conference at the Science Museum, Peake said that being part of the European Space Agency (ESA) programme for so long has helped him stay grounded ahead of the mission.
Theres still a lot of exams to go, so Ill be focusing on the Soyuz trip and passing those exams. Ive had the benefit of being a back-up crew six months ago, so Ive seen all this and that really installs a lot of confidence in this system. I know whats coming up which probably helps to keep me calm in these situations, he said.
Peake, who was selected to be an astronaut in 2009, will launch from Russias Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for the mission titled Principia. The mission is named after Isaac Newtons ground-breaking Naturalis Principia Mathematica which describes the principal laws of motion and gravity. Britain originally opted out of the European programme for human space flight, but reversed its decision in 2012.