Sixth Briton Sets Off for Space Station

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Astana: Tim Peake, the UK astronaut to fly under the European Space Agency banner, blasted off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on board a Russian Soyuz capsule at 11:03 GMT today. If all goes to plan, he will reach the International Space Station at 17:23 GMT, along with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and NASA astronaut Timothy Kopra.

Peake will spend six months on the ISS as part of the Principle Mission, which aims to encourage interest in science and technology in the UK. As well as carrying out on-board experiments and maintaining the station, he will take part in a few quintessentially British activities such as drinking tea and running the London marathon (on a treadmill).

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Peake is actually the sixth Brit in space. The first was chemist Helen Sharman, who flew to the Russian Mir Space Station a jointly funded mission between a private consortium and Russia.

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