'What surprised me was how entirely serene I felt. I was weightless, no forces exerting themselves on my body. To my left was the Space Station. Below me, gradually going into shadow, was the Earth. And over my right shoulder was the universe.'
When it comes to National treasures’, intrepid explorer and astronaut, Sir. Tim Peake really is out of this world. A man who has orbited the earth a mere 2,720 times, spent 186 days in space and who has captured over 400 phenomenal pictures of our planet from space. Tim is also the only man to have been awarded an honour from the Queen and run a marathon - whilst in space. He is out of this world, literally.
Born in Chichester, West Sussex, England, on the 7th April 1972, Tim’s thirst for adventure was clear from an early age. As an avid member of The Cub Scouts and the school Cadet Force, he gained a taste for the great outdoors, and was never happier than when he was hiking, kayaking or climbing. It was at the tender age of 13, his dream of becoming a pilot became a reality, as he took control of his first aircraft. It undoubtedly fanned the flames of an already burning desire for extraordinary challenge and adventure.
Tim gained his first rank as an Air Corps officer in 1992 and was soon awarded his Army Flying Wings in 1994, “He was a natural in the air, absorbing every detail of training and longing to expand his knowledge with each flight.” He went on to fly on military operations in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, the Former Republic of Yugoslavia and Afghanistan to name but a few. During his 18 years of service in the Army, he logged over 3,000 hours of flying time, in over 30 different types of aircraft. But it was clear that the sky was not the limit for Tim.
In May 2009, he was proudly selected as a European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut, along with five others. Graduating soon after in 2010, he went on to spend another three years training, which included seven days living in a cave and twelve days living underwater. In 2013, Tim was put on his first official long-duration space mission, a mission that was to put him in the history books, and in our hearts and minds forever as “one of the Nation’s good guys.”
“I am one privileged person in a complex team, all working in pursuit of one of the greatest scientific and technical challenges of our time – exploring our solar system for the benefit of people on Earth.”
Launching on a Soyuz rocket on December 15th, 2015, Tim became the first British ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station. This ‘Principia’ mission proved not only to be historic, but also pretty eventful for Tim. He took part in over 250 scientific experiments in six months, took over 400 pictures of the earth from space, and engaged with over two million school children across Europe. During his 186 days in Space, Tim, of course, also ran the London marathon using the space station’s treadmill, in support of The Prince’s Trust, (of which he is now an ambassador).
Tim has dedicated his life to serving others, by learning, courageously pushing boundaries, and sharing everything he has learnt along the way, not only about space and our solar system, but about science, technology, engineering, health, fitness and our planet.
According to Dave Maclean (from the Centre of Geographic Sciences in Canada), “A picture is worth 1000 words; a map is worth 1000 pictures; a Geographic Information System is worth 1000 maps”. By that account, Tim has contributed over 400,000 maps which document the Earth as it looks from space - “It's impossible to look down on Earth from space and not be mesmerised by the fragile beauty of our planet”.
In his recent book “Limitless”, Tim describes himself as a soldier, a pilot, astronaut, and parent. But it’s safe to now add to that list, best-selling author and ambassador for STEM education, The Prince's Trust and the Scout Association, where he strongly promotes the ethos of teaching ‘skills for life’.
Tim has inspired millions with his adventures into space, through his courage, passion and never give-up spirit. For now, however he’s taking some well-earned time out with his family and this was planned pre-covid, like many his adventures have been put on hold for a while. Where he’ll go next, no-one knows, but one thing’s for sure, for Tim, there are no limits…