MAJOR Timothy Nigel Peake, a former British Army Air Corps officer, is the first British citizen to be selected as an astronaut by the European Space Agency and, on December 15, became the first British man to officially go into space as a recognised astronaut when, together with American Tim Kopra and Russian Yuri Malenchenko, he was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan on a Russian Soyuz rocket.
With the others, he will be on board the International Space Station until June next year and is expected to gain another record by becoming the first man to run a marathon in space when on Sunday April 24, he will run the London Marathon.
Peake, who is running to raise awareness for The Prince’s Trust, will run the 26.2 miles on the treadmill as the ISS orbits the earth. He will start at 10am UK time on Sunday 24 April, the same time that the 37,000+ runners set off from Greenwich to cover the famous marathon distance on Earth.
To combat weightlessness, Peake will wear a harness that tethers him to the treadmill as he runs, while watching the HD video of the iconic London course on the big screen in front of the treadmill. The tension on the harness dictates the speed that he can run and his condition will be monitored by a medical team at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.
His parents were present at the launch and his mother laughingly suggested that she would have preferred that he had chosen the banking profession as at least she would have known where he was, although for the next six months, his whereabouts will not only be public but will be monitored as well.