Take a look back at British astronaut’s most memorable moments aboard the ISS

Tim Peake

Tim Peake snaps an epic selfie on his historic spacewalk

Peake made history when he became the European Space Agency’s (ESA) first British astronaut, as well as the first British astronaut to visit the ISS. British astronaut Tim Peake is set to return to Earth after an action-packed six months aboard the International Space Station .

Hw follows in the footsteps of Helen Sharman, who became the first British astronaut in 1991 when she flew to Russian space station Mir, as part of a privately funded misison.

Since then, only a handful of Brits have flown to space with NASA under American citizenship.


On 15 December 2015, former army pilot Major Tim Peake blasted off into orbit from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in a Russian Soyuz capsule alongside NASA’s Tim Kopra and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko.

Britain's astronaut Tim Peake waves as he walks to board a bus at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome, prior to blasting off to the International Space Station (ISS)
Tim Peake waves goodbye shortly before the launch

Just a few days later, Peake gave his first press conference from space. Shortly after that he tried to surprise his parents with a phone call from space but had to leave a voicemail as they’d gone out.

Not having much luck with galactic phone calls, he tweeted an apology on Christmas Eve to a lady he accidentally called when he got the wrong number .

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After settling in to life on the ISS, Peake made history on 15 January 2016 when he became the first British astronaut to complete a spacewalk .

Alongside fellow astronaut Tim Kopra, Tim ventured through the air lock to carry out a number of key repairs on the space station.

The daring six-hour mission was terminated early when Kopra spotted a film of water in his helmet – something that could have proved deadly.

Tim Peake @astro_timpeake
Today’s exhilarating #spacewalk will be etched in my memory forever – quite an incredible feeling!
Today’s exhilarating #spacewalk will be etched in my memory forever – quite an incredible feeling!

Celebrity treatment

To ensure rugby fan Tim didn’t miss out on the classic Calcutta Cup clash on 5 February, the England vs Scotland 6 Nations match was beamed up to the ISS for him to watch live.

Peake introduced the coverage while wearing an England shirt in a pre-recorded message from the ISS.

Tim Peakes photos from the International Space Station

Tim Peakes photos from the International Space Station

Making another TV appearance, Peake donned a tuxedo T-shirt to present a visibly emotional Adele with a BRIT Award from Space.

Tim Peake presents award to Adele in BRITS 2016
Tim Peake presents an award to Adele at the BRITS 2016

Peake also managed to nab himself a Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon run in space when he completed the London Marathon while strapped to a treadmill on the ISS.

He completed the run in a respectable three hours, 35 minutes and 21 seconds.

Tim Peake officially starts the 2016 London Marathon from the International Space Station
Tim Peake running the 2016 London Marathon on a treadmill on the ISS

On 1 June, Tim made history (again) when he joined Mark Zuckerberg for the very first Facebook Live broadcast from space . Along with NASA crew mates Tim Kopra and Jeff Williams, Tim took questions from the Facebook boss and users of his social network.

In yet another first, Peake became the first person to be named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours while in space. Peake was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George for “extraordinary service beyond our planet”.


During his six-month Principia mission aboard the microgravity lab, Peake has carried out more than 250 experiments designed by scientists around the world, including a several UK-based companies.

A number of scientific tests carried out during his trip were designed to examine how long-term space travel affects the human body.

Peake also became the first person to remotely control a rover on Earth from space when he piloted the ExoMars rover, which is due to launch to the Red Planet in 2018.

The British astronaut has also taken part in a number of initiatives in collaboration with the UK Space Agency to encourage kids to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.

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Peake and NASA’s Scott Kelly test out the Microsoft Hololens with a game of Space Invaders

Along with a number of live video linkups with school children around the country, Peake also carried out a number of experiments designed by students on a space-modified Raspberry Pi microcomputer as part of the Astro Pi competition.

Return to Earth

Tim Peake was originally meant to return to Earth on 5 June, but lucky Tim was given an extra 13 days on board the ISS in order to keep the space station fully crewed with six astronauts for as long as possible.

Peake is scheduled to leave the ISS on Saturday 18 June, and return to Earth aboard the Soyuz capsule.

After slamming through the Earth’s atmosphere at around 17,000mph, the descent capsule will be slowed using parachutes and retro rockets before landing in a remote spot in Kazakhstan.

Rescue crews will then retrieve Peake and his two crewmates from the pod and Tim will return to ESA’s HQ in Cologne, Germany for a series of medical tests.

European Space Agency
Astronaut Tim Peake makes scrambled eggs on the International Space Station
Tim Peake making scrambled eggs on the International Space Station

In his final interview before his return , Peake, in typically British style, said that he’s looking forward to the rain on his return.

“The feeling of nice cold drizzle on my face right now actually sounds blissful,” he said.

He’s also dreaming of gorging on pizza when he lands back on Earth.

What’s next?

There are currently no plans for another British astronaut to launch into orbit, though it is hoped that Tim Peake’s mission will act as the launchpad for a British leap into space.

A new report has urged the government to use Peake’s legacy as the basis of an ambitious expansion of the UK space industry.

Members of the Science and Technology Select Committee want to see steps taken towards establishing Britain’s own national space programme, independent of ESA.

“We ask the Government to outline its plans to ensure that the legacy of the Principia mission continues to raise public awareness of the UK’s leading role in the global space sector, while also inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers, long after Major Peake returns to Earth,” says the report.