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Tim Peake supporters tweet good luck messages ... 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.


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.


School wi-fi led to death of my daughter, says mother

A mother from Oxfordshire is calling for all wireless technology to be taken out of schools following the death of her 15-year-old daughter.

Jenny Fry was found in woodland near her home after texting a friend to say she would not be going to school and intended to kill herself.

Her mother claims she suffered from Electro Hypersensitivity and was allergic to Wi-Fi. Penny Silvester reports

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