Major Tim Peake, a former Army Corps flight officer might become the first British man to visit the International Space Station (ISS) in 9 days’ time from today. He will be flaying in a Russian Soyuz FG rocket that will take off from Kazakhstan on a 173-day mission to space.
But then, Peake confesses he is afraid of heights - Mail Online reports.
He had endured rigorous training that stretches human endurance to the limits and come out tops. The 43-year-old Peake endured 12 days at the bottom of the sea off the coast of Florida; he learnt Russian; and he lived in a cave in Sardinia.
He used to fly Gazelle helicopters in Bosnia and in Northern Ireland, and he had helped test Apache bombers in Afghanistan. He trained in a mighty swimming pool at NASA’s astronaut’s center in Houston and also in virtual-reality environments that recreates the experience of working out at the ISS in space.
But his childhood dreams from watching sci-fi movies is to visit space, and he has just beaten 8,000 other applicants to be selected for the space mission. Meanwhile, to beat his fear of heights, Peake took to rock climbing and that helped somewhat to cure him of his fears.
During the mission to the ISS, Peake alongside other astronauts will be tasked to repairing sections of the ISS, while others will run clinical experiments to develop effective vaccines for MRSA and salmonella-related infections among other superbugs.
Peake already has a copy of Russian-born Yuri Gargarin’s book, “Road To The Stars,” the first man to walk in space in April, 1961. Female British astronaut, Helen Sharman, who went into space in 1991 gave the signed copy of the book to Peake.
Apart from visiting space, Peake intends to become the first individual to run a marathon in space; and he will use the treadmill aboard the ISS to run 26.2 miles as London Marathon kicks off next year April. He will be watching the event unfold on Earth via his iPad and work the treadmill to achieve his own miles in space.
“It seemed like a super idea. The London Marathon is a worldwide event,” Peake said. “So I thought let’s take it out of this world. The thing I’m looking forward to is that it will mean I can interact with everyone down on Earth.
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“The idea is that I will feel I am running it along with everyone on the streets, while orbiting the Earth at 249 miles above the surface and doing 16,777 miles per hour. I’m not expecting to set any records though. I’m aiming for between three-and-a-half and four hours,” Peake submitted.