Major Tim Peake blasted off from the launch site in Kazakhstan at 11.03am to become the first British astronaut to spend time aboard the International Space Station.
The Soyuz rocket lifted off on time from the Baikonur spaceport, carrying Major Peake, Russian commander Yuri Malenchenko and American NASA astronaut Tim Kopra.
After the six hours it should take him to reach the ISS, Maj Peake, 43, will spend six months orbiting the planet on his Principia mission, monitoring the effects of prolonged time in space on his body.
He said: “I’m very excited about the physiological experiments on the effects of microgravity on the body, for instance looking at vision, the immune system , changes in bone structure, and asthma.”
“I find all these things fascinating, and there are knock-on benefits for our ageing population.”
He will also carry out experiments in various scientific fields such as physiology, biology, materials science, solar physics, radiation physics and technology demonstrations that will continue when he retunrs to Earth in six months time.
As a former Army aviator and helicopter test pilot, Major Peake is well used to strapping himself in for daunting missions.
He has notched up over 3,000 flying hours and has flown more than 30 different types of aircraft.
But he’s also a husband and a father to two sons , Oliver and Thomas.
“Tim’s a great dad and that’s one of his massive plus points,” said his wife Rebecca.
“Thomas does now get what daddy’s going to be doing. Oliver is four and we read stories and talk about it but he’s still in that imaginative phase of his life,” she said
Good Luck Tim!
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