ESA mission name for astronaut Tim Peake: Principia

Tim Peake

18 July 2014When ESA astronaut Tim Peake sets off for his six-month space journey next year, he will be flying under the mission name of Principia.

More than 4000 people replied to the call for a mission name earlier this year and Principia was suggested 20 times. The name refers to Isaac Newton’s world-changing three-part text on physics, Naturalis Principia Mathematica, describing the principal laws of motion and gravity.

Famously pondering why apples fall from trees, Newton wrote down the laws of gravity and laid the basis for working with it, a requirement for spaceflight. Tim Peake will spend six months living in weightlessness, the first time a British–ESA astronaut will visit the International Space Station.

“I am delighted with this name that honours one of Britain’s most famous scientists,” Tim says. “I hope it will also encourage people to observe the world as if for the first time ­– just as Isaac Newton did.

“Our planet Earth is a precious and beautiful place and we all need to safeguard it.”

Tim will be launched from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in November 2015 – and will be able to enjoy Newton’s favourite fruit as supply ships arrive at the international space laboratory. One of his aims is to inspire children during his stay in space, in particular by promoting healthy eating.

The International Space Station is first and foremost a place of science, and the six astronauts there spend much of their time working on experiments that cannot be done anywhere on Earth.

It’s a busy time in space for ESA astronauts, with Alexander Gerst currently working in the Station, Samantha Cristoforetti leaving for it in November this year, and Andreas Mogensen being launched shortly before Tim’s mission for a 10-day stay on the Station.

International Space Station

Tim Peake at No.10

21 May 2013ESA astronaut Timothy Peake and UK prime minister David Cameron at the office of the prime minister number 10 Downing Street after it was announced yesterday that Tim will fly to the International Space Station in 2015.

Tim was a helicopter test pilot before joining the ESA astronaut corps in 2009. He is the third ESA astronaut from the new class of 2009 to be assigned a mission to the International Space Station.

The news comes as a culmination of 18 years of flight experience for the British Army and as a civilian pilot. An intense training schedule awaits Tim as he flies around the world to learn Space Station procedures from the international partners that built and operate the orbital outpost: Canada, USA, Russia, Japan and Europe.

Prime Minister David Cameron wished Tim well and said: “I am sure he will do us proud and I hope that he will inspire the next generation to pursue exciting careers in science and engineering.”

Tim’s classmate ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano is heading for the International Space Station next week on a Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Alexander Gerst and Samantha Cristoforetti will follow one year later in 2014. Andreas Mogensen and Thomas Pesquet will fly before 2017.

Astronaut Tim Peake

ESA astronaut Timothy Peake set for Space Station

Timothy Peake

20 May 2013ESA’s Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, announced today that the ISS Multilateral Crew Operations Panel has decided on Friday, 17 May to accept his proposal to fly astronaut Timothy Peake to the International Space Station in 2015.

“When we recruited the six new ESA astronauts in May 2009, I made a promise to secure flight opportunities for all of them. Thanks to the decisions of the Member States at the Ministerial Council last November, we will be able to fulfil our commitment to fly all six newly selected astronauts before the end of 2017. The first three astronauts already had their missions assigned. Today I am very happy to announce the assignment of Timothy Peake for a mission to the International Space Station. The two remaining astronauts, Andreas Mogensen and Thomas Pesquet, will be assigned before mid-2015 for flights at the latest in 2017.”

Timothy Peake will join the crew of Expedition 46/47 for six months in 2015. He will be the first British citizen to live and work on the Space Station and it will be the eighth long-duration mission for an ESA astronaut.

Timothy’s classmate ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano is preparing for launch to the orbital outpost on 28 May. Timothy’s mission will follow those of ESA astronauts Alexander Gerst and Samantha Cristoforetti, both scheduled for launch in 2014.

“The value of Europe’s astronauts and the training given at the European Astronaut Centre is reflected in the large number of mission assignments awarded to ESA astronauts,” notes Thomas Reiter, ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations.

A former helicopter test pilot and Major in the British Army, Timothy is thrilled with his assignment: “I am delighted to be proposed for a long-duration mission to the International Space Station. This is another important mission for Europe and in particular a wonderful opportunity for European science, industry and education to benefit from microgravity research.

“Since joining the European Astronaut Corps in 2009, I have been training to work on the Station and I am extremely grateful to the ground support teams who make it possible for us to push the boundaries of knowledge through human spaceflight and exploration.”

About Timothy Peake

In 2009, Timothy was appointed as a UK ambassador for science and space-based careers. He has worked with the UK Space Agency in developing the country’s microgravity research programme.

After graduating from basic astronaut training in November 2010, Timothy continued training to increase his skills in weightlessness, including working in spacesuits, and his knowledge of the different modules of the Space Station.

In 2011, Timothy took part in ESA’s international Caves training that simulated space exploration during a week-long stay underground, isolated from the outside world.

In 2012, he spent almost two weeks in an underwater base off the coast of Florida, USA, as part of NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations, or NEEMO – a testbed for space exploration technologies. The course focused on asteroid exploration involving communication delays with ground control and working on a simulated asteroid.

From his homebase at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, Timothy will start his mission training with the partners of the International Space Station. It will take him to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA, Star City, near Moscow, Russia, as well as Japan and Canada.

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 20 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 18 are Member States of the EU.

ESA has Cooperation Agreements with eight other Member States of the EU and is discussing an Agreement with the one remaining (Bulgaria). Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

ESA is also working with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

Learn more at

For further information, please contact:

ESA Media Relations Office Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99 Fax: +33 1 53 69 76 90 Email:

For interview opportunities, please contact:

Jules Grandsire European Astronaut Centre Astronaut Communication Officer Tel: +49 22 03 6001 205 Email:








ESA astronauts Paolo Nespoli and Tim Peake at Farnborough Air Show

ESA astronauts Paolo Nespoli and Tim Peake are appearing at the Farnborough Air Show on Friday 13th July.

Farnborough 2012 Website.

Always check with event organisers before making final arrangements.

ESA Astronaut Paolo Nespoli: Photo credit ESA.

ESA Astronaut Paolo Nespoli

ESA Astronaut Time Peake : Photo credit ESA

ESA Astronaut Tim Peake websize

Space for growth at Farnborough airshow

ESA exhibition concept

6 July 2012
ESA is joining other space agencies and industry in a dedicated Space Zone at the major Farnborough international airshow in the UK for seven days from Monday, 9 July.
The Space Zone in Hall 3 brings together key players from international space agencies and industry in the aerospace, defence, space and security sectors to highlight the increasingly important role of space.

The detailed programme of events can be found in the link to the right.

This year, the ESA exhibition highlights the multiple facets of space: space for Earth, space for knowledge, space for competitiveness and growth.

At this time of unprecedented economic challenges, space has proven to be an engine of economic development, an anchor of stability and a counterbalance to negative trends.

Space-based services are more and more part of our daily life and represent a growing element of the economic and societal value of space.


Director General and UK minister, 2010

The ESA exhibition highlights how space pushes the frontiers of knowledge, supports a competitive Europe and creates technical innovation and new business.

From their special vantage points, satellites continuously monitor Earth and its natural processes, delivering critical information and detecting changes in our atmosphere, land, oceans and ice.

Particular emphasis is placed on new data from ESA’s CryoSat ice mission and Swarm, the next mission to be launched in the state-of-the-art series of Earth Explorers.

ESA’s observation satellites have given Europe a leading role in understanding our planet, weather and climate change, providing data and services to a vast community of users.


Space4Careers event, 2010

The exhibition features the new generation of Meteosat and MetOp weather and climate satellites. Visitors can see maps created from satellite information for disaster relief following natural catastrophes.

A special feature focuses on the first in the series of ESA’s Sentinel satellites, part of the EU’s Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security initiative, GMES.

Visitors to the stand can learn more about space-based services provided to aviation by the EGNOS navigation overlay service, operational since March 2011, and about the Galileo satnav constellation, with two satellites already in orbit and two more being launched later this year.

Visitors will also learn how ESA is supporting competitiveness of the satellite telecom industry with Hylas-1, ESA’s first public–private partnership, which has provided broadband services across Europe since 2011, and the upcoming launch of Alphasat, flying on Alphabus, the first European large platform for high-power telecoms satellites.


Rocketry challenge finalists

ESA also develops a wide range of telecom services and applications to provide space solutions in fields such as air traffic management and maritime surveillance efficiently and seamlessly over almost every region of our planet.

New ideas developed for space missions often hold great potential for terrestrial sectors too. ESA’s Business Incubation Centres work to inspire entrepreneurs to turn space-connected business ideas into commercial companies.

Representatives from the ESA incubation centre in Harwell, near Oxford, will be present during trade days from Monday 9 July to Thursday 12 July.

The Space Zone will host a series of high-level events including a dedicated Space Day conference organised and hosted by the UK Space Agency on Tuesday 10 July.

Other events include a conference on careers, Wednesday 11 July, on growth in the space industry on Thursday 12 July and presentations for students on careers in the scientific and technical aerospace sector with ESA astronauts Paolo Nespoli and Tim Peake on Friday 13 July.

Follow Neemo


Neemo base
Neemo base

ESA astronaut Timothy Peake and his crewmates are living in an underwater base off the coast of Florida.

Neemo missions train astronauts for life in space. Living and working in an underwater base is similar to space stations. During the 10-day mission, Tim and his five crewmates will live in cramped conditions, perform ‘waterwalks’ and will have to solve problems as a team.

This year Neemo aquanauts are challenging students to prove their understanding of natural phenomena in an educational programme called Science Under Pressure.

Tim and fellow aquanauts performed a number of educational experiments before diving down to the Neemo base. What will happen when the same experiment is performed under pressure? Will fizzy drinks still have their bubbles? Will toy helicopters be able to fly in the denser air of the underwater base?



Follow Neemo via social media. In addition to the specific Neemo Facebook and Twitter accounts, Tim can send tweets via @Astro_TimPeake. ESA’s astronaut trainers will be blogging and tweeting on ESA’s astronaut blog and via @ESAstro_trainer.

Tim scuba diving for space


Timothy rescue diver training

30 May 2012
ESA astronaut Timothy Peake’s crewmates on this year’s Neemo underwater training can rest assured: Tim is training as a rescue diver at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne.
This summer, Tim will spend almost two weeks in an underwater base off the coast of Florida for mission Neemo. An underwater base is one of the best ways to recreate the isolation and weightlessness of living and working in space – on Earth.

All ESA astronauts are trained as Advanced Open Water scuba divers and certified to the standards of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, better known as PADI.

ESA’s astronaut training centre in Cologne, Germany decided to train astronauts that have not yet been assigned a mission to the level of PADI Rescue Diver, which will expand their diving expertise.


Timothy rescue diver training

“The better diver you are, the better you will be at spacewalks,” explains Hervé Stevenin, head of the Astronaut Training Unit preparing ESA astronauts for spacewalks.

“Scuba diving is as close as it gets to experiencing weightlessness on Earth for long periods of time.

“This Rescue Diver Course builds confidence, as it makes divers consider the safety of others, preventing problems and managing emergencies.”


Last week, Tim started rescue diving training tailored to an astronaut’s needs. A normal course takes around three days to complete, but Tim has a two-week intensive schedule.


Timothy rescue diver training

After a full day of preparations, he entered the Neutral Buoyancy Facility for hands-on training in the European Astronaut Centre. In this 10m-deep water tank, Tim practised all rescue diver techniques with eight PADI-certified trainers.

Tim must prove his skills in mock rescue situations. His trainers act out emergency situations that could occur in real life. Tim is unaware of what awaits him – then he has to react accordingly and rescue the situation.

Tim is enthusiastic about the training: “This is by far the best diving training that I have experienced. The practical rescue exercises have really given me that extra confidence to know how to act in an emergency situation and to become familiar with diving equipment.

“I am very grateful to the training team who have made the exercise scenarios very realistic but also great fun too!”

To qualify as a PADI Rescue Diver, a final exam is held in open water. Tim will undergo this exam with colleague ESA astronaut trainees Thomas Pesquet and Andreas Morgensen in a lake near Cologne in August.


Splashdown for the Neemo mission is on 11 June. Follow Tim’s mission on the astronaut blog and Twitter through the links below:

Follow on Twitter
 •  @ESAstro_trainer (!/ESAstro_trainer)
 •  @Astro_TimPeake (
 •  Astronaut blog (


Tim Peake at the RAL Oxford May 11th 2012

ESA astronaut Timothy Peake, from the United Kingdom, training with the Soyuz simulator in Star City

We attended the evening lecture at the RAL, a standing room only event; a packed house with an audience of all ages. Tim gave a lecture of approximately one hour (it has been recorded and will be available ASAP on the STFC website).

Plenty of space images and a few short video clips interspersed with a well-informed presentation. Tim described being an astronaut as the best job in the world. He is excited with the challenges so far encountered the ones yet to come. His enthusiasm was infectious. He left Houston yesterday to be here today fresh from aquatic adventures.

A great Q&A session with most of the good questions from the younger members of the audience, as well as the recurrent how does one go to the loo in space? (All very English don’t you know).

Its sounds like he’d had a busy day starting at 8.00 a.m. with schools competitions and visits along with the 1.00 p.m. lecture and the one tonight.

Congrats to cS’er Ollie (now a proud Dad to son Connor) with the newborn’s space autograph collection officially started. Rob Synge was also present.

Tim stayed for photo ops, autographs and short conversations with all.

A great evening, thanks Tim and the staff at the RAL/STFC Talking Science Team.



Tim gets his feet wet

NEEMO aquanaut
NEEMO aquanaut

17 April 2012
ESA astronaut Timothy Peake will soon dive to the bottom of the sea to learn more about exploring space. A permanent underwater base almost 20 m below the waves off the coast of Florida will be Tim’s home for more than a week in June.
The NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, or NEEMO, allows space agencies to test technologies and research international crew behaviour for long-duration missions.

Astronauts get a feeling of how it is to work and live in space, learning to cope as individuals and as a team to stressful situations.

During their 10-day stay in the underwater base, the aquanauts will conduct ‘waterwalks’ to perform repairs simulating real spacewalks.


NEEMO aquanaut
NEEMO base

They will have to solve problems on their own. Even in an emergency, they will not be able to come up to the surface immediately.

Spending only a few hours deep underwater requires a safety stop and decompression before coming back up. There is no quick emergency exit from the NEEMO base.

“NEEMO is the best space exploration analogue used in official astronaut training, followed tightly by ESA’s cave training programme,” says astronaut trainer Loredana Bessone from the European Astronaut Centre.

“When I dived down to the underwater habitat, it looked exactly how I imagine a lunar base will look like.

“Aquanauts were ‘floating’ around in slow motion, performing repairs and mounting equipment. I could not take my eyes off the scene.”

Tim’s training starts on 11 June and will centre on exploring asteroids – communication delays, anchoring to the surface and crew size.


Tim Peake cave training
Tim Peake cave training

Training astronauts for space requires remote and inhospitable places to test their reactions to stress and their ability to work in an international team. ESA and international partners also send astronauts underground in Sardinia in Italy for cave training.
The astronauts have to adjust to this extreme environment, where life depends on their equipment and how they use it. They must show team ingenuity in resolving issues and overcoming obstacles.

Learning to work as a team in isolation, with no outside help and only limited rescue capabilities, is part of becoming an effective astronaut. The ‘right stuff’ can be learned, with the right instruction.

This is the first time that an ESA astronaut is joining a NEEMO mission and, in exchange, NASA will send astronauts to participate in ESA’s cave training later this year.

The base will hold an international crew of six. Tim will work with crew leader Dottie M. Metcalf-Lindenburger, a NASA astronaut who flew on the Space Shuttle. Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will complete the astronaut line-up.

From today Tim Peake will be tweeting about his training in addition to making entries in the astronaut blog. See the links to the right.

NASA Announces 16th Undersea Exploration Mission Dates and Crew

WASHINGTON — An international team of aquanauts will travel again to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean to simulate a visit to an asteroid in the 16th expedition of NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO).

This year’s NEEMO mission will begin June 11. It will build on lessons learned from 2011’s NEEMO 15 mission and test innovative solutions to engineering challenges allowing astronauts to eventually explore asteroids.

“We’re trying to look out into the future and understand how we’d operate on an asteroid,” said Mike Gernhardt, NASA astronaut and NEEMO principal investigator. “You don’t want to make a bunch of guesses about what you’ll need and then get to the asteroid to find out it won’t work the way you thought it would. NEEMO helps give us the information we need to make informed decisions now.”

This NEEMO expedition will focus on three areas: communication delays, restraint and translation techniques, and optimum crew size. The crew of four will spend 12 days living 63 feet below the Atlantic Ocean’s surface on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Aquarius Reef Base undersea research habitat off the coast of Key Largo, Fla.

NASA astronaut and former space shuttle crew member Dottie M. Metcalf-Lindenburger will lead the crew. She will be joined by fellow astronauts Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Timothy Peake of the European Space Agency and Cornell University professor Steven Squyres, who was also a NEEMO 15 crew member.

To request interviews with the NEEMO 16 crew during the mission, contact Brandi Dean of NASA at, Rosita Suenson of the European Space Agency at, Akiko Niizeki of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency at or Fred Gorell of NOAA at

The NEEMO mission is sponsored by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Program. For more information about NEEMO and the crew and links to follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter, visit: