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Salford watches with pride as UK astronaut Tim Peake blasts off

Today sees rocketman Tim Peake make history on his landmark flight to the International Space Station as the former army pilot becomes the UK’s first Briton in space since Helen Sharman in 1991.

In the last hour it has been confirmed that the Soyuz space capsule carrying the 43-year-old, which launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan this morning, is now in successful orbit around the Earth.

Peake will spend several months on board the ISS where he will conduct a series of experiments in the European Space Agency’s Columbus science lab.

The International Space Station in low Earth orbit

The International Space Station in low Earth orbit

It’s hoped his 250-mile vertical journey will open up more UK involvement in human spaceflight and attract generations of children to careers in science.

In 2013 the ex-helicopter pilot visited Salford as part of the Misson X tour, organised by Councillor Stephen Coen, making a big impact with 120 eager pupils from local schools.

Councillor Coen said today: “Tim caught the imagination of the young people of Salford with his last visit here, he continues his journey today in space, inspiring future young people in Salford to make this a journey they can also acheive.”

peake and coen

In 2009 Tim was one of six picked from around 8,000 applicants to be inducted to the European Astronaut Corps and will join the crew of the International Space Station as part of Principia Expedition 46.

Watch: Tim Peake comes to Salford to get ready for the stars

As Tim moves into his new home in space he would like children across the UK to exercise alongside him as he trains for two hours a day in the world’s highest and fastest-moving gym, which travels at 27,600 km per hour, and circles the world once every 90 minutes.

In light of this, Nigel Barber and Mike Jubb are at Salford City Academy School today hosting the Space to Earth Challenge where students from Barton Moss Primary School are taking part in the event.

Tim Peake4

Mike Jubb, from the British Triathlon Foundation Trust, told SalfordOnline.com: “We’ve partnered with the Learning Trust to host a day of various events at Salford City Academy, with students from other schools joining.”

He added: “We’ve set up exercises to try and show the children how Tim Peake will feel on return from space.

Tim Peake3

Tim Peake2

“He’ll feel different walking when home due to the obvious difference in gravity.

“The exercises start off with the children running, then going from cycling to jumps referred to as bunny jumps as these are what Tim will struggle most with on his return.”

Major Peake says that he’ll be tweeting from space @astro_timpeake much like the popular leader of Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield, who ended his own space station journey by posting a Youtube video cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, seen by over 23 million people.

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