Advertisement

Is a mission to the Moon next for Tim Peake?

Tim Peake said he would go back to space 'in a heartbeat'. Credit: ITV News

Tim Peake is slowly getting used to life back on earth.

His skeleton is slowly regenerating after losing perhaps as much as 10% of his bone mass, his muscle tissue is rebuilding and the debilitating nausea is finally gone.

I met him at the European Space Agency's Astronaut Training centre in a leafy suburb of Cologne.

It feels like a University campus and in a way this is a college for space men.

We’re escorted into a huge hall, reminiscent of a school gym. But rather than the parallel bars, there is a huge mock-up of the international space station, as well as a life-size Soyuz training capsule.

It’s here that I meet Britain's first official astronaut, beaming as he walks in, looking relaxed and healthy less than a month after his landing on the remote steppe of Kazakhstan.

Inside the training capsule. Credit: ITV News

I was there when he launched a fortnight before Christmas, watching his little boys waving their Daddy off as he boarded a bus in the freezing sub-zero temperatures.

I remember his son asking his wife Rebecca whether "Daddy is in the rocket?" as 26 million horsepower of rocket fuel thrust the Soyuz capsule high into the blue sky.

I asked Tim Peake if it had sunk in with them yet?

Yes completely. In fact my oldest son, he enjoyed the moment and in the months leading up to that we made a conscious effort to try and prepare them for what was to come.

I would take them to work show them the modules I would be living in. We would talk about what was going on in space, the rocket launch and the landing. So they were quiet aware of what was going on.

I would give my two boys the same advice I give everybody else and that is to forge their own path, if it’s not aviation, not science that doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

– Tim Peake
Peake before he embarked on his six-month ISS mission. Credit: Reuters

He thinks a manned mission to the moon is a possibility in his lifetime. And of course he is hoping he could be part of that.

I ask him how Brexit may affect the chances of more British space flight.

"I am as concerned about what Brexit means for the United Kingdom anyone else," he tells me but Britain’s involvement with the European space agency shouldn’t be affected.

It's one of the few things that won't be, governed by agreements that aren't contingent on EU membership.

The tumultuous events of the past two weeks may have knocked him off the news agenda slight, but today he'll be back in the UK making an appearance at the Farnborough air show.

Peake might not have peaked yet. He firmly is setting his sights on going back into space.

Perhaps the first Britain to set foot on the Moon or even Mars. In the meantime he will continue his work as an ambassador for the European Space Agency and for British space flight.

And of course, spending some much needed time with his boys.