British astronaut Tim Peake has revealed where he wishes his next mission to travel to

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Tim Peake

Tim Peake has revealed where he wants his next mission to be

The 44-year-old old father-of-two was speaking for the first time since he came back down to Earth on Saturday after his stint on the International Space Station . British astronaut Tim Peake has revealed how he dreams of flying to the moon after returning from six gruelling months in space.

Despite saying he felt like he was suffering from the ‘world’s worst hangover’ after his landing, Major Peake said he would return to space ‘in a heartbeat’.

Applauded into a press conference the former helicopter pilot described how his tiny Soyuz capsule “blew itself apart” on it’s 17,000mph descent.


British astronaut Tim Peake would return to space station "in a heartbeat"

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Major Peake described a series of adrenaline-pumping events “tumbling” in space, watching a pyrotechnic display of sparks and flames during the fiery descent through the Earth’s atmosphere, and the sensation of “falling back to Earth” as the G-force pushed him back in his seat.

Read more: Tim Peake would return to space ‘in a heartbeat’ – but he’s putting family first for a while

He also spoke of his “dream” of going to the Moon and his hope that the UK continues to fund manned space missions.

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Tim-Peake-press-conference
Tim Peake has held a press conference following his return to Earth

He also said he was grateful to be using a gravity-assisted Earth toilet at last.

Together with American Nasa astronaut Colonel Tim Kopra and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko their “descent module” – the only part of the three-section Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft to complete the journey – parachuted down to a remote spot on the vast Russian Kazakhstan steppe on Saturday.

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Major Tim Peake (second left) greeting his parents
Major Tim Peake hugs his mum Angela

All three are now undergoing an intense programme of rehabilitation and tests to help them re-adjust to Earth gravity and show scientists how their bodies have stood the strain of 186 days in space.

Read more: Tim Peake says readjusting to life on Earth is like having the ‘world’s worst hangover’

Major Peake spoke at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.

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Major Tim Peake (second left) greeting his mother Angela and father Nigel
Major Tim Peake greets his dad with a handshake

He said: “In my previous military career I’ve had the pleasure of flying some Russian military helicopters so I’m very familiar with Russian engineering and Russian technology, and it’s robust.

“It works very well but it’s very solid, and when a solid spacecraft is designed to break into three parts it doesn’t do it quietly.

Tim Peake (on the ground with Tim Kopra

Tim Peake on the ground with Tim Kopra

“It does it with a number of pyrotechnic bolts that all go off one after the other, sounding like a very heavy machine gun.

“The spacecraft really does blow itself apart, which is really quite exciting.

“These pyrotechnic bolts are only a few millimetres of metal away from your ear when they go off.

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Soyuz spacecraft carrying British astronaut Tim Peake lands on Earth

“The descent is a really exciting ride… you can’t help the boy inside you that’s enjoying this fantastic ride back from space.”

During separation the crew are seated in module, which measures little more than 6ft across.

The two other sections of the Soyuz are jettisoned, burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Tim Peake of Britain waves shortly after landing

Tim Peake of Britain waves shortly after landing

As it shot through the atmosphere, the craft’s heat shield slowed its speed from 17,398mph to 514mph and raised the outside temperature to a 1,600C (2,912F).

Major Peake added: “It’s great being sat next to the window because you’re able to look out.

I started seeing sparks and flames coming off because all the multi-layer insulation around the spacecraft is burning away. Again, it was very exciting to see that.”

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Tim Peake (centre) in a recovery helicopter shortly after landing
Tim Peake (centre) in a recovery helicopter shortly after landing

“You’re down at almost 100km and I looked out the window having spent six months watching planet Earth from 400km in a very controlled attitude.

“To look out the window and see Earth approaching at 100km in what looked like a fairly uncontrolled attitude was really quite surprising.

“You really get a very strong sensation that you are just falling back to the planet.

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The Soyuz capsule carrying Major Tim Peake and his two crewmates which has released itself from the International Space Station and undocked
The Soyuz capsule carrying Major Tim Peake and his two crewmates

“Then the Gs start to build up. You get plenty of time to get used to that but towards the end you are doing four to four-and-a-half Gs which, after six months of zero gravity, is quite a lot. So you’re having to control your breathing and work on that.

“The capsule gets very hot, extremely hot. You’re working hard against the G, you’re working hard against the heat.

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The Soyuz TMA-19M capsule carrying International Space Station (ISS) crew members including im Peake

“Your visors are down, you don’t have much ventilation inside; you’re having to read the systems as well and check the spacecraft. There’s an awful lot going on.

“Probably the most dynamic part is where the parachute – the drogue chute – opens. For 20 seconds you’re getting really flung around, so you have to hold on and wait for it all to stop.”

Tim said it was “extremely important” for Britain to be involved in the advancement of human space flight.

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The Soyuz capsule carrying Peake and his two crewmates
Commander Yuri Malenchenko, NASA’s Tim Kopra and Major Tim Peake before they enter their spacecraft

“We need to be involved now and we need to give our industry a chance to develop what they need to support human space flight,” he added.

“If we’re not involved now, then we are simply going to miss the boat.

“Living and working on board the International Space Station is the best place you could be as a professional.

Tim Peake and Scott Kelly play Space Invaders in space

Tim Peake and Scott Kelly play Space Invaders in space

“A dream would have to be a lunar exploration mission, I don’t think any astronaut would turn that down.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat. And I can say that because I’ve spoken to my wife and she is incredibly supportive of it.

“We have reached over a million schoolchildren… I’m delighted we’ve got them to think about space and science in a different way.


Tim Peake lands on Earth... and asks for a cold beer

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He added he wanted them to know that: “You can go to the Moon.

“You’re looking at a boy who went to Westbourne Primary School who left school at the age of 19 with three below average A-levels and I’ve just got back from a six-month mission to space.

“My message to them is: ‘Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do anything’.”

Tim Peake

Tim Peake is hoping to go back into space

He declined to say whether he would vote for or against Britain’s leaving the European Union in its referendum on Thursday.

Peake’s mission, called Principia after Isaac Newton’s work, included a number of scientific experiments, such as testing the use of nitric oxide gas as a tool to monitor lung inflammation.

Tim Peake’s highlights


Back home


End of mission


Space diary


Tim’s photos


London Marathon


Space walk


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