British astronaut Tim Peake to return to space for second mission

Major Peake returned from the ISS in June last year. Credit: Shamil Zhumatov via AP

British astronaut Tim Peake has announced he is to return to the International Space Station for his second mission.

The news was revealed as the spacecraft that carried Major Peake and his crew to and from the International Space Station (ISS) went on public display at London's Science Museum.

The Souyz capsule, still singed by the heat of re-entry, joins other exhibits charting the history of space exploration.

Major Peake first travelled to the ISS in December 2015, making him the first British astronaut to be sent to there by the European Space Agency.

During his 186 day mission, the former helicopter test pilot also became the first Briton ever to walk in space, took part in more than 250 scientific experiments, ran the London Marathon on a treadmill and even announced the winner of a Brit Award.

He and his crew mates American Nasa astronaut Colonel Tim Kopra and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko made the trip back to Earth in the Soyuz TMA-19M in June 2016.

Peake was the first British astronaut to be sent to the ISS by Esa. Credit: Henning Kaiser/DPA

When asked by ITV News Science Correspondent Alok Jha if he would change anything on a future mission, Major Peake said: "I'm not sure I would."

"You know the first mission was a wonderful success and the view [of] planet earth is the one thing that is just always so awe-inspiring to see," he said.

"So I would just continue to take lots of photos and try and get as many people engaged in the mission as possible."

Today's announcement coincided with a pledge by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for a £152 million fund for British satellite expertise to be used for international projects monitoring flooding, drought and deforestation.

Greg Clark MP said: "Tim Peake's Principia mission inspired a generation, and showed just how far science can take you."

Major Peake, who is a father-of-two, is often credited with inspiring more than a million schoolchildren with educational outreach activities.

He has previously said he would go back to space "in a heartbeat", but admitted he wanted to spend time with his family first.