Live: Tim Peake’s Launch

15 December 2015

Today Tim Peake will become the first Briton to board the International Space Station, a historic moment for our country’s involvement in European spaceflight.

[ISS] Launch of Soyuz TMA-19M with British Astronaut Tim Peake

A Soyuz-FG rocket has successfully lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan today at 11:03 UTC carrying the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft into orbit. The craft carried first time spaceflight flier British astronaut Tim Peake, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra.

Tim is also the astronaut who will operate the Astro Pi payload, which will run seven student programs for one week each, during his six-month Principia mission.


Tim with Astro Pi

Tim with an Astro Pi computer, image credit ESA


The Astro Pi payload, along with the student code, is already on board the ISS waiting for Tim to arrive and unpack it. It was launched last week on Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo freighter, which was berthed to the ISS on the 9th of December.


Intl. Space Station on Twitter

The #Cygnus approaches the @Space_Station before capture about 6:18am ET/11:18 UTC.


Tim, and his crew mates Tim Kopra and Yuri Malenchenko, will begin Expedition 46 in the mighty TMA19M spacecraft (below) which is regarded as one of the safest crew vehicles ever built.



The Soyuz TMA19M Spacecraft, image credit Roscosmos


They will launch on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:03 AM, and it will take them approximately six hours to reach the ISS. Here is the orbital ascent profile for the flight:



Soyuz TMA Ascent Profile


You’ll be able to watch the whole thing on the BBC or on the NASA TV live stream. Principia launch events are also taking place throughout the UK, with one of the biggest being held at the London Science Museum on Exhibition Road. The Astro Pi team will be present and there will be two Astro Pi flight units on display!

Principia launch event

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Entry is free and we’re up on the 3rd floor, so come find us and say hi! As a ‘Lates’ event, it runs into the evening for adult attendees, and features numerous talks, access to space-related objects, and even a pop-up planetarium from Imperial College. Here’s a map of how to get there.

The Edinburgh International Science Festival, meanwhile, has a whole day of events at the National Museum of Scotland. Between 10:00 AM and 2:30 PM local primary school pupils can take part in a range of hands-on activities, watch live footage of the mission, and ask a real-life astronaut questions. There’s even space-themed busking around the city! The evening adult event is unfortunately sold out, but the daytime festivities look set to be unmissable!

News Article – Edinburgh International Science Festival – Edinburgh International Science Festival

Each year we deliver one of Europe’s largest science festivals, a primary school education programme across Scotland and a variety of international programming activities and projects.

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