WESTBOURNE, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 15: Friends and locals gather to watch Tim Peake go into space during a launch party at his home town Westbourne Social Club on December 15, 2015 in Westbourne, United Kingdom. European Space Agency Astronaut Tim Peake is a former British Army Air Corps Officer and is the first publicly funded Briton in Space. He should arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) at 6.30pm GMT and will spend the next six months maintaining the ISS and conducting experiments. (Photo : Chris Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Britain scored a milestone after the first British astronaut to blast off to outer space and step into the International Space Station (ISS) arrived at his destination.
Tim Peake, 43, was picked by the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2009 for the job. He embarked on his ISS journey Tuesday with NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko on a Soyuz space carrier from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Mashable reported. The launch location was the same one Yuri Gagarin, the first human to reach outer space, used in 1961.
"Peake will be there for six months, conducting a series of experiments and updating us all on his progress, which he hopes will inspire people, particularly children, to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," the tech news source noted.
After a six hour journey through outer space, the trio arrived at the ISS and were greeted by the astronauts already residing in the space station.
"It was a beautiful launch," Peake said of the event, as noted by the BBC. "That first sunrise was absolutely spectacular."
"We also got the benefit of a moon rise which was beautiful to see," he added.
The trio's arrival was not without tension, as the Soyuz needed to be manually dock the craft at the ISS because the Kurs radar system failed. Mission commander Malenchenko "was forced to take manual control of the ship and pilot it in himself," The Telegraph said.
However, once the hatch opened, the audience monitoring the event back in Kazakhstan erupted in applause.
"Major Peake arrived smiling at the station and hugged current ISS crew members Nasa's Scott Kelly and Russian astronauts Sergey Volkov and Mikhail Kornienko," the publication added.
On Peake's to-do list on his Principia mission is the task of "growing crystals and blood vessels in space, simulating atomic structures and charting areas in the brain as they adapt to stressful situations." However, he and his 2 companions will have to settle in for a few days to get used to the zero-gravity environment before beginning their 40-hour week.
Peake is from Chichester, England and had extensive experience as a pilot.
"He graduated from the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1992 as an officer in the British Army Air Corps," Mashable said. "He served as a platoon commander in Northern Ireland before beginning flight training and getting his Army Flying Wings in 1994."
He then went on to do reconnaissance flights and did many test flights in different types of military helicopters.
When he retired from the British Army in 2009, the ESA chose him from a pool of more than 8,000 candidates for the astronaut program after passing the stringent selection phase.