Tim Peake begins stay on international space station
UK astronaut Tim Peake boarded the International Space Station on Tuesday, which will be his home for the next six months.
Mr Peake and fellow crew members, Russian Yuri Malenchenko and American Tim Kopra, floated through the hatch from their Soyuz space capsule to be greeted by the resident ISS astronauts.
The three new passengers arrived at the space platform following a six-hour journey after launch from Kazakhstan. Earlier, the Russian commander had to steer the craft to dock with the ISS. It followed complications with the usual automatic docking procedure.
Mr Peake is making history as the first official UK astronaut. Speaking from the ISS to officials and family members, he said: “It was a beautiful launch. That first sunrise was absolutely spectacular.”
It’s a rare event for the Soyuz crew to have to manually dock the spacecraft at the space station. The Kurs radar system that failed is one of the two main ways controllers have of determining where the Soyuz is relative to the space station. The other is measurements taken from the ground.
The launch was from the same place where Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space in 1961. There were no reported problems during the blast-off.
Peake will spend six months on board the ISS where he will conduct scientific experiments and carry out educational projects designed to attract young people into science.
The former Army major is the first Briton to join the crew of the ISS and is employed by the European Space Agency.
Helen Sharman became the first British citizen to travel to space when she visited the Soviet space station Mir in 1991.
Other Britons who have flown into space have done so either as private individuals or by taking US citizenship.
Tim Peake (left) is the first Briton to travel to the
International Space Station.