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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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Contest to name Sussex-born astronaut's space mission

The British astronaut Major Tim Peake is to fly on a mission to the International Space Station in 2015. The European Space Agency (ESA) have launched a competition to find a name for the mission. The astronaut was born in Chichester in Sussex.

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