Tim Peake retires as an astronaut

Tim Peake RETIRES: UK spaceman who made history when he became the first British astronaut to walk in space is stepping down from his role at the European Space Agency

  • Tim Peake has announced his retirement as a European Space Agency astronaut
  • The 50-year-old, from Chichester, will now assume ambassadorial role for space
  • He said being an ESA astronaut had been ‘the most extraordinary experience’
  • Major Peake spent six-months onboard International Space Station in 2015-2016 

Tim Peake, Britain’s first ever government-funded astronaut, has retired from active duty with the European Space Agency (ESA).

The 50-year-old will now assume an ambassadorial role for space and work closely with both the UK Space Agency and ESA. 

Announcing his decision to step down, Major Peake said: ‘Being an ESA astronaut has been the most extraordinary experience. I have had the privilege of working with an exceptional team of dedicated individuals during the past thirteen years with the agency, which has been incredibly exciting and rewarding,’

‘By assuming the role of an ambassador for human spaceflight, I shall continue to support ESA and the UK Space Agency, with a focus on educational outreach, and I look forward to the many exciting opportunities ahead.’

Tim Peake, Britain’s first ever government-funded astronaut, has retired from active duty with the European Space Agency (ESA)

During his six-month stint onboard the International Space Station from 2015-2016, Major Peake became the first person to complete a spacewalk while sporting a Union Jack on his shoulder, to repair part of the station’s supply. 

He controlled a rover remotely in the Stevenage Mars Yard, helped dock two spacecraft, ran the London marathon on a treadmill, and took part in scientific experiments for ESA and international partners.

Before returning to Earth in June of that year, Major Peake also worked with the UK Space Agency to engage more than two million schoolchildren across the UK – approximately one in three schools – in over 30 projects.

Dr Paul Bate, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said: ‘Tim Peake is an incredible ambassador for the UK space sector and has played a leading role over the past decade. 

‘Not only has he carried out important scientific work, during his historic Principia mission to the International Space Station and while on Earth, but he has inspired millions with his passion for space and the opportunities it offers. 

‘Tim has played a huge role in promoting STEM education and space careers, and has shone a light on the hundreds of roles involved in getting an astronaut into space, and across the wider space sector.’

He added: ‘It’s thanks to Tim and those who have worked with him that we can look forward to a new generation of skilled scientists, engineers, lawyers, designers and more, who will help the UK space sector soar to new heights.   

‘We wish Tim all the best and look forward to supporting him in his next adventure, knowing that the UK’s role in human space exploration is in the safe hands of the new generation of ESA astronauts from the UK: Rosemary Coogan, Meganne Christian, and the world’s first astronaut with a physical disability, John McFall.’

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