1. ITV Report

Ground control to Major Tim - the UK's newest astronaut

A former major and helicopter pilot in the British Army Air Corps, Major Tim Peake will join Expedition 46 to the ISS, launching in November or December 2015.

His stay at the 415km-high outpost is expected to last just over five months.

Major Tim Peake Credit: PA Wire

Tasks once in orbit will include helping to maintain the 27,000km/h platform and carrying out science experiments in Esa's Columbus laboratory module, which is attached to the front of the 400-tonne complex.

He is also expected to get the chance to do a spacewalk during his five-month stint.

"It really is a true privilege to be assigned to a long duration mission, it feels like a real high point in a long career in aviation."

– Major Tim Peake

The married father-of-two was selected as a European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut in May 2009 and completed basic training in November 2010.

In a jokey reference to David Bowie fan, Commander Chris Hadfield, he said: "I do play the guitar, but very badly, and I wouldn't inflict my singing on anybody."

Cdr Hadfield, from Canada, was his country's first professional astronaut, and gained a legion of fans on the Soyuz space capsule mission to and from the ISS, by performing a cover of the Bowie classic, Space Oddity.

Tim Peake (centre) with Vince Cable (left) Science Minister David Willetts (right) at Downing St, London Credit: PA Wire

He now has close to one million followers on Twitter. Major Peake praised Cdr Hadfield for the "fantastic job" he had done. "I don't think I'll be able to top the tweeting, but I will also be tweeting, to encourage a generation to take an interest in space."

As for training he had had to undertake, he said: "We lived underground in Sardinia for a week, in a cave, learning psycho social skills which we will need later.

"I've done some very strange things, lived under water for 12 days off the coast of Florida, and weightlessness training is always interesting.

"All of these training events do serve a very real purpose in order that you can accomplish your mission."

When it is announced who his fellow crew members will be, they will meet and become friends as well as colleagues, he said.But there is actually quite a lot of space for the six people on board."It's the size of a 747-400, that's a lot of space. You can spend a lot of the day alone."Major Peake may take a didgeridoo with him to join the musical instruments already on the ISS - "a friend has offered to teach me how to play".

Major Peake has been working with the UK Space Agency in developing the UK's microgravity research programme.The first Briton in space was Sheffield-born chemistry graduate Helen Sharman in May 1991. She took part in the Soviet mission Project Juno, spending eight days conducting scientific experiments at the Mir Space Station.

David Cameron and Tim Peake in Downing Street Credit: PA Wire

Maj Peake graduated from Sandhurst in 1992 as an officer in the Army Air Corps. He served as a platoon commander in Northern Ireland before beginning flying training, being awarded his Army Flying Wings in 1994.

Between 1994 and 1998 he served as a reconnaissance pilot and flight commander in Germany, the former Republic of Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland, Kenya and Canada.

He qualified as a helicopter flying instructor in 1998 and was selected for an exchange posting with the US Army, flying Apache helicopters at Fort Hood, Texas from 1999 to 2002.On his return to the UK, he was employed as an Apache helicopter instructor from 2002 to 2005, when he helped introduce the Apache into service with the British Army.

More on this story