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Fred Dinenage in space! (sort of)

Astronaut Tim Peake has been in space for nearly a month and on Friday he will make his first spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

But you may recall that just before Christmas our very own Fred was privileged enough to visit the European Space Agency - and have a word with Tim just after he landed on the ISS.

While he was there, Fred had a good look around the training facility that Tim himself used to prepare for his six month mission - and even grabbed hold of the controls!

Here's the first of two special reports where Fred also speaks to Jules Grandsire of the ESA, Dr Rudiger Seine, head of training, bio-medical engineer Jennifer Struble and Eurocom's Andy Orth.

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Huge new communications tower for Kent?

It's been revealed that an American company is talking to Dover Council about plans to build a communications tower - taller than The Shard - on the Kent coast.

It would stand at the site the old Richborough Power Station and would beam trading data cross-channel to the financial centres of Europe.

But any planning application will not get an easy ride. Iain McBride reports.

Tim Peake supporters tweet good luck messages

5.4.3.2.1 ... countdown to blast-off for local astronaut

Tim Peake Credit: ITV news

The countdown is on for local space hero Major Tim Peake. Just after 11am this morning the 43 year old father of two from Chichester will become the first British astronaut to be launched into space for 20 years.

The former army major will spend six months aboard the International Space Station. The Russian rocket will blast off from Kazakhstan's historic Launch Pad 1 from where the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, rocketed into orbit in 1961.

It will take 8 minutes to get into orbit and around six hours to catch up with the space station 250 miles above earth. Tim and two other astronauts will go aboard at approximately 7 o'clock this evening

Credit: ITV news

It's taken 6 years of hard work and training to get to this point. His intense training included living in a cave with other astronauts for seven days and spending 12 days underwater. Major Peake will say a final farewell to his wife Rebecca and young sons Thomas and Oliver. His parents have also travelled to support him.

He's been kept in quarantine for the last two weeks. Yesterday he gave a press conference alongside his two crew member colleagues from behind a glass partition. He said he's eagerly looking forward to his first glorious view of Planet Earth seen from space and hoped to be able to give his family a call on Christmas Day.

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Major contract for BAE Systems

BAE Systems has been awarded a contract for 60 new RIBs Credit: ITV

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced a £13.5m contract to BAE Systems for 60 new Pacific 24 Rigid Inflatable Boats during a visit to Portsmouth Naval Base.

The next generation Pacific 24 Mark-4 will be deployed on Royal Navy ships such as the Off Shore Patrol Vessels, as well as the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, due to arrive in Portsmouth in 2017.

The RIBs are the workhorse of the Royal Navy, deploying from ship or shore at speeds of up to 38 knots (44mph) as a rapid response craft to perform fast rescue, anti-piracy and counter-narcotics missions.

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