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Tim Peake anticipates space view of Earth ahead of historic launch

Published 14/12/2015

British astronaut Tim Peake speaks during the crew's news conference at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan
British astronaut Tim Peake speaks during the crew's news conference at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan
British astronaut Tim Peake, left, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, centre, and US astronaut Tim Kopra
Tim Peake ahead of his launch to the International Space Station
Tim Peake waves as he leaves the crew's news conference
Family members at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, where British astronaut Tim Peake is staying in quarantine ahead of the launch
The Soyuz FG Rocket which will carry Tim Peake to the International Space Station

British astronaut Tim Peake is eagerly looking forward to his first glorious view of Planet Earth seen from space.

Speaking at a press conference on the eve of his historic launch to the International Space Station (ISS) tomorrow, he was asked what he was looking forward to most about the mission.

He said: "It really has to be the view of Planet Earth.

"I don't think anything can truly prepare you for that moment and that will occur in the Soyuz spacecraft once we get injected into orbit I'll be able to look out the right window and see the beautiful view of Planet Earth."

He also revealed that Christmas had nearly slipped his mind in the hectic run up to the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Speaking alongside his two crew member colleagues from behind a glass partition, he said: "You know, we've been so busy focused on this mission that I kind of forgot Christmas was just over a week away.

"Of course we'll be enjoying the fantastic view of Planet Earth and our thoughts will be with everybody on Earth enjoying Christmas, and with our friends and family, of course.

"We'll thankfully be able to give them a call on Christmas Day."

"I also hear a Christmas pudding went up on Orbital Four (a supply mission to the space station), so we'll have some treats as well."

Major Peake, 43, is the first British astronaut to be sent on a mission to the ISS.

He is also the first fully British professional astronaut.

Previous "Brits in space" have either had US or dual citizenship and worked for Nasa or been on privately funded or sponsored trips.

Major Peake is employed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and sports a Union Flag on his sleeve.

He stood and smiled as he was introduced at the press conference to loud applause.

Members of his family, including his parents Nigel and Angela Peake, were in the auditorium along with TV crews, photographers and reporters from all over the world.

Major Peake said he had his colleagues to thank for preparing him psychologically and emotionally for the challenge to come.

He said his intense training, which included living in a cave with other astronauts for seven days and spending 12 days underwater, had also played a key role.

He said: "These missions really are analogues and they helped us prepare for space missions, but more importantly it's the more informal casual discussions with your friends and colleagues who have flown in space.

"That's what really prepares you for what's to come."

Travelling with Major Peake will be Russian commander Yuri Malenchenko and Nasa astronaut Tim Kopra.

Blast-off is scheduled for 11.03, UK time, and will take place at the historic Launch Pad 1 from where the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, rocketed into orbit in 1961.

Major Peake said closely following his training for the mission over the past two and a half years had helped his family understand what he was about to do.

His wife, Rebecca, and children Thomas, six, and Oliver, four, are now living in Houston, Texas, the home of many astronaut families.

"They've seen where I'm going to eat, where I'm going to sleep, where I'm going to go to the loo, which is the most exciting part for them," said Major Peake.

"They also watched me go underwater and practice for space walking.

"That's all really helped them appreciate what is coming up.

"Also, this process of coming to view the launch, coming to see a part of our life, of what we trained for - I think that all helps."

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon sent his best wises to Major Peake.

During a visit to Portsmouth Naval Base, he said: "It's a big moment to see a British astronaut, a former serving officer, blasted off into space. He is looking forward to it and I think the whole country will be getting behind him."

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