Tim Peake

Timothy Peake, official portrait.jpg
Official NASA portrait photograph, taken in August 2013
Timothy Nigel Peake

(1972-04-07) 7 April 1972 (age 51)[2][3]
Chichester, Sussex, England
Alma materUniversity of Portsmouth (BSc)
Occupation(s)Test pilot and astronaut
AwardsCompanion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Space career
ESA Astronaut
Previous occupation
British Army officer
Time in space
185 days 22 hours 11 minutes
Selection2009 ESA Group
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
4 hours, 43 minutes
MissionsSoyuz TMA-19M (Expedition 46/47)
Mission insignia
ISS Expedition 46 Patch.svg
ISS Expedition 47 Patch.svg
Websitewww.timpeake.com principa.org.uk

Major Timothy Nigel Peake CMG (born 7 April 1972) is a British author, Army Air Corps officer and European Space Agency astronaut.

He is the first British ESA astronaut, the second astronaut to bear a flag of the United Kingdom patch (following Helen Sharman), the sixth person born in the United Kingdom to go on board the International Space Station, and the seventh UK-born person in space.[4] He began the ESA's intensive astronaut basic training course in September 2009 and graduated on 22 November 2010.[5]

Early life

Peake was born in Chichester, Sussex, on 7 April 1972.[3] He grew up in Westbourne, West Sussex. He studied at the Chichester High School for Boys, leaving in 1990 to attend the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.[6]


Military and aeronautical

Upon graduation from Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Peake received a short-service commission as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps on 8 August 1992.[7] He served as a platoon commander with the Royal Green Jackets,[8] and was promoted to lieutenant on 8 August 1994.[9] On 9 July 1997, he transferred to a regular commission, receiving a promotion to captain on 20 August.[10][11]

Peake became a qualified helicopter pilot in 1994 and a qualified helicopter instructor in 1998, graduating from CFS(H) at the Defence Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury[12] in Shropshire. Promoted to major on 31 July 2004,[13] he graduated from the Empire Test Pilots School in Wiltshire the following year, and was awarded the Westland's Trophy for best rotary wing student. He then served on Rotary Wing Test and Evaluation Squadron (RWTES) at MOD Boscombe Down completing trials on Apache helicopters.

Peake completed a BSc (Hons) in Flight Dynamics and Evaluation at the University of Portsmouth the following year.[14] Peake left the army in 2009 after 17 years of service and over 3,000 flying hours to his credit, becoming a test pilot with AgustaWestland.[15][16]


Peake on the NEEMO 16 mission
Peake on the NEEMO 16 mission

Peake was selected to join the European Space Agency astronaut corps in 2009, flew to the ISS in 2015/16, and retired from active service in 2023.[17]

Peake beat over 8,000 other applicants for one of the six places on the ESA's new astronaut training programme. The selection process included taking academic tests, fitness assessments and several interviews.[18] Peake moved to Cologne with his family for the ESA training.[19]

Peake was the first British or UK-born person to fly into space without a private contract (as did Helen Sharman,[20] Mark Shuttleworth, and Richard Garriott) and/or foreign citizenship (held by astronauts Michael Foale, Gregory H. Johnson, Piers Sellers, Nicholas Patrick,[21] Shuttleworth, and Garriott).

As part of his extensive astronaut training in 2011, Peake and five other astronauts joined an international mission, living in and exploring cave systems in Sardinia. This ESA CAVES[22] mission enabled them to study how humans react to living in extreme conditions with complete isolation from the outside world. This expedition gave the team an idea of what they could expect and how they would cope in the confined space of the ISS.[23]

On 16 April 2012, NASA announced that Peake would serve as an aquanaut aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory during the NEEMO 16 undersea exploration mission, scheduled to begin on 11 June 2012 and last twelve days.[24][25] The NEEMO 16 crew successfully "splashed down" at 11:05 am on 11 June.[26] On the morning of 12 June, Peake and his crewmates officially became aquanauts, having spent over 24 hours underwater.[27] The crew safely returned to the surface on 22 June.[28]

During Expedition 44 Peake served as a backup astronaut for Soyuz TMA-17M spaceflight.[29][30]

Expedition 46/47

Peake was launched to the space station (ISS), on 15 December 2015, for Expeditions 46 and 47.[31][32] He launched successfully at 11:03 GMT from Baikonur Cosmodrome[33] on board Soyuz TMA-19M. The official website dedicated to his mission is principia.org.uk.[34]

During the launch, as per tradition, each cosmonaut was allowed three songs to be played to them. Peake chose Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now", U2's "Beautiful Day" and Coldplay's "A Sky Full of Stars".[35]

Peake working in the Columbus module
Peake working in the Columbus module

During docking, the Kurs docking navigation system failed, and a manual docking was performed by Yuri Malenchenko who was alongside Peake and Tim Kopra. This delayed docking with the ISS by 10 minutes. The Soyuz finally docked with the ISS at 17:33 GMT.[36] Peake received messages of support from the Queen and Elton John, after the successful docking.[37] His first meal at the ISS was a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea.[38]

Peake celebrating 100 days in space with Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra
Peake celebrating 100 days in space with Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra

A new year's message by Peake was broadcast by the BBC to celebrate 2016.[39][40]

Peake supported a spacewalk by two American astronauts on 21 December 2015. He participated in the first spacewalk outside the ISS by a British astronaut on 15 January 2016. The purpose of the spacewalk was to replace a faulty sequential shunt unit on the station's solar arrays.[41]

Peake pictured during his first career EVA
Peake pictured during his first career EVA

In February 2016, Peake presented Adele with a Global Success award at the Brit Awards in London.

On 24 April 2016, Peake ran the 2016 London Marathon from the ISS treadmill. Peake became the first man to run the marathon from space and the second person to run a marathon from space, after Sunita Williams, who ran the 2007 Boston Marathon from the ISS.[42]

Peake was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to space research and scientific education.[43]

At a special meeting of the Chichester City Council on 17 February 2016, it was agreed unanimously to confer the Freedom of the City upon Peake with the appropriate ceremony after his return later in 2016.[44]

Peake being carried to a medical tent shortly after the landing of Soyuz TMA-19M
Peake being carried to a medical tent shortly after the landing of Soyuz TMA-19M

On 18 June 2016, Peake returned to Earth from the ISS aboard the descent module of the Soyuz spacecraft that had taken him to the space station in December 2015. The spacecraft landed on the Kazakh steppe in Kazakhstan almost 480 km (300 mi) southwest of the major city of Karaganda, landing at 09.15 UTC. Peake had completed approximately 3,000 orbits of the Earth and had covered a distance of 125 million kilometres (78 million miles).[45]

International Space Station partnership and the Nobel Peace Prize

Life up here is absolutely spectacular ... amazing view of Earth ... way beyond my expectation.

— Tim Peake, during his first news conference from the ISS[46][47]

At the UK National Student Space Conference in early 2014, Peake expressed his support for the initiative to award the International Space Station partnership the Nobel Peace Prize.

"I was delighted to read about the International Space Station and the discussions about it being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because … it has been one of the most incredible international partnerships...[The ISS] really has brought many nations together through difficult times, and continues to do so."

Peake noted that with increasing constraints on space programs around the world, collaborative initiatives such as ISS will be necessary for future endeavours. "I think [the ISS] really has to be the model for future space exploration because with budgets becoming more and more constrained, then, really one nation is not going to have the capability to expand exploration out into the solar system, to Mars and beyond. We are going to have to work together on projects."[48]

Personal life

Peake is married to Rebecca, with whom he has two sons, and enjoys climbing, caving, cross-country running and triathlon.[49]

When he was younger Peake was a Cub Scout and is now an ambassador for the Prince's Trust and the Scout Association in the UK.[50]


In May 2021, as part of its 150th-anniversary celebrations, the Institution of Engineering and Technology awarded Peake an Honorary Fellowship for his outstanding contribution to space exploration and the engineering and technology industry.[51]


See also


  1. ^ "Astronaut Tim Peake assumes ESA ambassadorial role". www.esa.int. Retrieved 20 January 2023.
  2. ^ "Timothy Peake". European Space Agency. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b "PEAKE, Timothy Nigel". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. Vol. 2016 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) (subscription required)
  4. ^ "Tim Peake launch: The seven Britons to go to space". BBC News. 15 December 2015.
  5. ^ Jonathan Amos (22 November 2010). "Europe's new astronauts graduate". BBC News. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  6. ^ Bremner, Charles; Henderson, Mark; Devlin, Hannah (20 May 2009). "Briton Major Timothy Peake named as Europe's latest astronaut". London: Times Online. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  7. ^ "No. 53087". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 October 1992. p. 17984.
  8. ^ Sample, Ian (21 May 2009). "European Space Agency recruits test pilot as Britain's first official astronaut". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  9. ^ "No. 53835". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 October 1994. p. 15271.
  10. ^ "No. 55051". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 February 1998. p. 2161.
  11. ^ "No. 54893". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 September 1997. p. 10459.
  12. ^ "Space ace Tim's early grounding at RAF Shawbury". Shropshire Star. 16 December 2015. p. 1.
  13. ^ "No. 57371". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 August 2004. p. 9763.
  14. ^ "Astronaut biography". 5 October 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  15. ^ "AgustaWestland Test Pilot Selected For Astronaut Training". AgustaWestland. 20 May 2009. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  16. ^ Peter Jackson (20 May 2009). "It's ground control to Major Tim". BBC News. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
  17. ^ "Astronaut Tim Peake assumes ESA ambassadorial role". www.esa.int. Retrieved 20 January 2023.
  18. ^ Gray, Richard (31 May 2009). "Britain's first official astronaut Tim Peake defends sending humans into space". London: The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 25 January 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  19. ^ Sample, Ian (23 March 2010). "Lift-off for new space agency which aims to rocket UK out of recession". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  20. ^ "On This Day: 1991: Sharman becomes first Briton in space". BBC News. 18 May 1991. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  21. ^ Jonathan Amos (20 May 2009). "Europe unveils British astronaut". BBC News. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
  22. ^ Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Payler, Samuel J.; Vattano, Marco; Sauro, Francesco Maria; Turchi, Leonardo; Bessone, Loredana (1 July 2021). "Speleology as an analogue to space exploration: The ESA CAVES training programme". Acta Astronautica. 184: 150–166. Bibcode:2021AcAau.184..150S. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2021.04.003. ISSN 0094-5765. S2CID 234819922.
  23. ^ Mundell, Sam (February 2015). "Tim Peake ready to become United Kingdom's official ISS resident". RocketSTEM (10): 32.
  24. ^ NASA (16 April 2012). "NASA – NASA Announces 16th Undersea Exploration Mission Dates and Crew". NASA. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  25. ^ Peake, Tim (29 April 2012). "NEEMO 16 – In search of an asteroid". European Space Agency. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  26. ^ The NEEMO Mission Management and Topside Support Team (11 June 2012). "NEEMO 16 Mission Day 1 – Status Report" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  27. ^ The NEEMO Mission Management and Topside Support Team (12 June 2012). "NEEMO 16 Mission Day 2 – Status Report" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  28. ^ The NEEMO Mission Management and Topside Support Team (22 June 2012). "NEEMO 16 Mission Day 12 – Status Report" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  29. ^ "Expedition 44 Backup Crew Members". NASA. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  30. ^ Evans, Ben (21 July 2015). "All-Civilian Soyuz TMA-17M Crew Ready for Wednesday Launch to Space Station (Part 2)". America Space. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  31. ^ "Tim Peake passes final Soyuz exam". BBC News. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  32. ^ "Roscosmos Announces New Soyuz/Progress Launch Dates". NASA. 9 June 2015.
  33. ^ "Briton Tim Peake blasts off for space". BBC News. 15 December 2015.
  34. ^ "Principia". principia.org.uk. Archived from the original on 13 November 2015.
  35. ^ "British ISS astronaut Tim Peake reveals blast-off playlist music includes U2, Queen and Coldplay".
  36. ^ Richardson, Derek (15 December 2015). "Astronaut trio launches to, docks with space station in Soyuz TMA-19M". Spaceflight Insider. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  37. ^ "Tim Peake: 'Loving every minute' of first days in space". BBC News. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  38. ^ "Pig in space: astronaut Tim Peake's first meal in orbit was a bacon sandwich". The Guardian. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  39. ^ "Tim Peake's New Year message from International Space Station". BBC News. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  40. ^ "Astronaut Tim Peake says Happy New Year to 'beautiful planet Earth'". BT.com. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  41. ^ Rincon, Paul (5 January 2016). "Tim Peake set for first spacewalk by British astronaut". BBC News. Retrieved 2 November 2022.
  42. ^ "Tim Peake 'runs' London Marathon from space - BBC News". BBC News. 24 April 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  43. ^ "No. 61608". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2016. p. B3.
  44. ^ "Tim Peake honoured by Chichester City Council - BBC News". Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  45. ^ UK astronaut Tim Peake returns to Earth
  46. ^ "Tim Peake: Life in space is 'absolutely spectacular". BBC News. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  47. ^ "Tim Peake Gives News Conference From Space". Sky News. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  48. ^ Andrew Henry (19 March 2014). "Astronaut Tim Peake Comments on the ISS Partnership and the Nobel Peace Prize". Space Safety Magazine. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  49. ^ "Astronaut Biography: Timothy Peake". Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  50. ^ "The European Space Agency: Timothy (Tim) Peake". Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  51. ^ "Tim Peake receives prestigious engineering accolade". Retrieved 16 May 2021.