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  1. ITV Report

Tim Peake hopes his space trip will inspire a generation

UK astronaut Tim Peake has said he hopes his "remarkable" journey in space will encourage a whole new generation of scientists and engineers.

Speaking to ITV News via Facebook Live from the International Space Station (ISS), the astronaut said it was a "dream come true" to go into space and be a motivational figure.

"Hopefully I've been able to inspire some kids of our next generation of young scientists and engineers to look at space and science in a different way", he said.

Tim Peake became the first Briton to conduct a spacewalk Credit: ISA

Major Peake boarded the ISS in December and is scheduled to return to Earth on June 18.

"It was groundbreaking for the UK to join the human space flight programme in 2012 - I certainly hope this will pave the way for the UK's continued involvement in human space flight", he added.

The astronaut said it was "vitally important" for the UK to stay involved with space exploration, ahead a crucial European Space Agency (ESA) ministerial council meeting in December.

If the UK decide to suspend its contribution to ESA's manned space programme, it is likely Peake will be the last Briton to be sent to space.

Major Peake was the first Briton to go into space Credit: ISA

In six months aboard the ISS, the astronaut has conducted over 250 science experiments and captured the imagination of millions with his social media updates and live broadcasts.

The astronaut became the first Briton to conduct a spacewalk and ran the London marathon on an on-board tredmill, but despite saying he will "miss this place", he does look forward to his return to Earth.

"People say when you're up in space you always long to be on Earth and when you're on Earth you long to be in space".

"There are some things I won't miss - we live in a very artificial environment, artificial lighting, constant hum of air conditioning systems. It's just going to be nice to be out in the fresh air, and be back earth on planet Earth and experience that."

Tim Peake will return to Earth in June Credit: PA

Before then, however, Major Peake says the landing will rank among the most high-risk elements of the mission.

"The landing is not a trivial event. We have to decelerate from 17,500mph, come in to the Earth's atmosphere and of course that takes a lot of punishment on both the spacecraft and on the body as well".

"Most astronauts describe it as a really good ride, so I'm really looking forward to it at this stage."