Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Briton set for shuttle lift-off

British astronaut Nicholas Patrick is part of a Nasa crew blasting off into orbit

A British-born astronaut will be part of a Nasa crew blasting off into orbit as part of mission to the International Space Station.

Dr Nicholas Patrick, originally from Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire, will be heading towards the stars in the space shuttle Endeavour.

The 45-year-old will stay on board the craft for 13 days, adding to the 308 hours he has already logged in space.

The construction mission - which will feature three spacewalks - comes as America prepares to scale back its space programme.

The White House has announced it is to axe the Constellation mission, which had aimed to take space travellers back to the moon.

Much of the money saved in the process will be directed toward new rocket technology research, the US administration has said, but there is likely to be funding cuts.

In 2006, Dr Patrick was part of a seven-member Discovery crew that blasted off for a 12-day mission to the International Space Station.

Married with three children, Dr Patrick lives in Connecticut having become a US citizen in 1994.

But his desire to explore dates back to his early years in Yorkshire when he lived close to where Captain James Cook once resided.

"We would go walking in the Yorkshire Moors, and go and see the monument that was erected to him and that's one of my earliest memories actually of wanting to be an explorer," he said in a Nasa interview.

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