Major Tim Peake

The first Briton in space was Yorkshire-born Dr. Helen Sharman (1963-) in 1991, who spent eight days in the Russian space station, Mir, in orbit above the Earth. The second Briton, Major Tim N. Peake (1972-) from Sussex spent 186 days in the International Space Station from December 2015 to June 2016. He had previously been in the British Army Air Corps and was a helicopter pilot before training at the European Space Agency.

Astronauts Tim Peake (left) and Alexey Ovchinin (right) from Russia. Image: NASA Johnson at / CC BY-NC 2.0

He was able to set up or contribute to more than 250 experiments during his 3,000 orbits of the Earth. Most of these are long-term. Some, like his rocket seeds experiment, are aimed at getting schoolchildren interested and involved. Major Peake has been a leading figure in new school projects designed for the STEM subjects ~ science, technology, engineering and mathematics ~ in the hope that they will inspire British youngsters to take up careers in space technology in the future.

(Top image: NASA Johnson at / CC BY-NC 2.0)

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