Belfast Telegraph

Tim Peake on the International Space Station: Catch the first glimpse of ISS with British astronaut on board

Sky-watchers may be able to catch a glimpse of the International Space Station tonight - with British astronaut Major Tim Peake onboard for the first time.

Major Peake became the first UK astronaut to join the crew of the ISS after the Soyuz space capsule successfully docked with the craft last night.

And it is expected to pass over Belfast at around 5.57pm and be visible for two minutes.

The forecast for this evening predicts "patchy clouds", so if there is enough clear sky the space station will be visible with the naked eye.

Major Peake, along with Russian Commander Yuri Malenchenko and US astronaut Tim Kopra, have now joined the station's team of three for the next six months.

The 43-year-old entered the station with a huge smile on his face as the full crew joined in front of the camera to listen to congratulatory messages from family members and space travel experts watching from the European Space Agencies base in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

The Principia's launch and journey to rendezvous with the space station went smoothly, however, there was an issue with docking meaning pilot Yuri Malenchenko had to manually guide the Soyuz capsule into the station's port.

The arrival of the three new crew members on to the ISS was more than half an hour behind schedule.

A misalignment problem meant Malenchenko had to take manual control of the capsule, back away from the station and make a second approach.

But the second attempt to dock, at a careful speed of 20-30 centimetres per second, was successful and barely 10 minutes behind schedule.

You can follow the International Space Station's progress around the world here.

What the ISS looks like

The International Space Station is incredibly bright and resembles a star racing across the horizon.

At 220 miles above the Earth, it travels at an average speed of 18,000mph and make multiple orbits around the planet every day.

It takes the craft around 90minutes to orbit the earth meaning those onboard experience a sunset or a sunrise every 45 minutes.

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