Child astronaut

October 12, 2022

Tim Peake with his sons Thomas and Oliver “I’m going to miss them hugely and that’s hard at times. Often when I talk to the boys they are counting down the number of sleeps to when they will see daddy again.”

Mother Rebecca, 41, added: “They will miss him desperately. We will just have to make the time go as quickly as possible for them. Tim won’t want it to pass to fast. But it will be fine.

“Tim’s a great dad and that’s one of his massive plus points, ” added wife Rebecca. “Thomas our oldest boy does get what daddy is going to be doing. We have done things to help him understand what his dad’s life is going to be like for six months so we have taken him to the simulator so he can see how the ISS is laid out, where daddy will sleep and where he’ll eat where he’ll go to the loo, which is by far the most interesting part of it all.”

Commanded Peake will launch into space at 11.03am on December 15 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan alongside Nasa astronaut Tim Kopra and Russian commander Yuri Malenchenko, the other two crew members on the Principia mission.

Rebecca Peake with sons Oliver and Thomas The former pilot and Sandhurst graduate has spent six years training for the mission, after beating 8, 000 other applicants who responded to an internet advert from the European Space Agency entitled, ‘Do you want to be an astronaut.’

Born in Chichester in 1972, he served in Army Air Corps and as a platoon commander in Northern Ireland before being awarded his flying wings in 1994. He went on to train Apache helicopter pilots before being selected for test pilot training in 2005. On retirement from the Army in 2009 he worked as a test pilot for helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland.

“I always figured that I married a man who loved doing exciting things that had a an element of danger, ” added Mrs Peake.

“His job was flying helicopters as hard and as fast as they could go to test them out. Thats what makes Tim who he is and so much fun to be with. So I am very accepting of that.

“Helicopter test flying on a day to day basis is probably more dangerous than his training but going up in a rocket to orbit definitely takes it to a new level and I think I would have to be fairly numb to the experience if I didn’t have some emotions attached to that.”

The mission is not without risk. Two of the four rockets sent up to the International Space Station this year from Baikonur have failed, one exploding shortly after launch and the other burning up on re-entry.

“It’s a very similar rocket to the rocket that the manned vehicle launches in so we’re not going to go ahead with a manned launch if there is something wrong with that rocket, ” added Commander Peake.

“The closer you get to spaceflight the more optimistic you get, the desire to fly increases. When people ask if you are nervous about flying to space it’s absolutely not. The thing I am most nervous about is not flying to space.”

Tim Peake at a recent press conference at the Science Museum in London Since 2011, all astronauts visiting the ISS have to hitch a ride with the Russians. It takes six hours to reach the space station, which is around 258 miles, roughly the distance between London and Scarborough, and the crew must then complete a tricky docking exercise to link up the hatches of the Russia Soyuz and the ISS.

Once there, Commander Peake will essentially become a human guinea pig for six months, taking part in 23 human physiology experiments which could help scientists prepare for a mission to Mars which included studying how microgravity effects eyesight, brain cells, appetite, bones, muscle, skin and the immune system. The tests could also bring breakthroughs closer to home. The Airway Monitoring Experiment is looking at the causes of asthma and how the condition can be prevented.

“The main purpose of my mission, and being in space is to conduct science and experiments, ” added Commander Peake.

“Being a human guinea pig was quite strange at first but you rapidly get used to the idea that you have handed your body over to science.”

Coming home is equally dangerous and of the Syouz descends to steeply it can make a ‘ballistic re-entry’ and veer dangerously off course. On Malenchenko’s last mission to the ISS, he missed his landing site by nearly 300 miles.

For the Peake’s the next six months will be an exciting, but tense time.

“I rely on Rebecca hugely, ” added Commander Peake. “She’s an immense base of support, not just for our children but she provides a lot of support for me.

“There are some things that as you go through the training you can discuss easily with your colleages or crew mates, there are other things that the only person you can turn to is your soulmate, your wife, to be able to discuss things and for her to help you through.”

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This Child Will Possibly Be A Future Astronaut After This
This Child Will Possibly Be A Future Astronaut After This
Shy Child @ Dour 2007: Astronaut
Shy Child @ Dour 2007: "Astronaut"
Posterchild Saluting Astronaut Whirligig
Posterchild Saluting Astronaut Whirligig
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