It takes the "right stuff" to withstand cosmic bursts of camera light and meteoric bombardments of questions, but Tim Peake is orbit-ready and passed the test of facing the massed media on Monday morning.
As Britain's first official, government-backed astronaut, his selection for a mission in late 2015 marks a pivotal moment.
Science Minister David Willetts regards the £16m to secure Tim Peake's ticket as money well spent.
While Nasa wraps its astronauts in the rhetoric of fabled explorers - lots of "celestial destiny" and "bold endeavour" - the British take is far more mundane: the press release announcing Tim Peake's mission is mainly about British industry and jobs.
Near the summit of the Mauna Loa volcano, the carbon dioxide monitors stand amid one of the world's remotest huddles of scientific instruments. To reach them you have to leave the steamy Hawaii coast and climb through barren lava-fields.
At the top, above 11,000ft, the air is thin and the sun piercing. During my visit, I watched rain clouds boiling in the valleys below me. Charles David Keeling chose this otherworldly spot because the air up here is neither industrial nor pristine; it is "well-mixed" which means it can serve as a useful guide to changes in the atmosphere.
Twenty years ago when scientists at Cern created the first page for the World Wide Web no one could have imagined how easily it would transform the ability of humankind to have conversations around the globe.
Nor could they have predicted that a web-based debate would have explored the apparently outlandish idea of volunteers travelling on a one-way ticket to Mars and setting up a colony with no prospect of return - all on live television.
From being a totally unimaginable feature of the deep ocean throughout most of human history to being shown live on global television earlier this week, hydrothermal vents have never been so well understood.
Now back on dry land after broadcasting on the latest work on the research ship James Cook in the Cayman Trough, I'm still picking up messages from people amazed at getting such an extraordinary vision of the reality of the deep sea.
Britain could be the best place in the world to pioneer eight key areas of science - everything from robotic cars to synthetic organisms to strange new materials.
Or the country that fostered the Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions could succumb to the all-too-familiar affliction of coming up with astonishing inventions only to see others walk off with the profits.
Twenty years ago David visited the secret lab at Los Alamos that created the nuclear bomb and he's been fascinated by science and scientists ever since. His reports on research have taken him as far afield as the Antarctic ice-sheet, the Amazon rainforest and the depths of the Gulf of Mexico.
Since joining the BBC back in 1983, David has covered Northern Ireland, defence, Europe and world affairs. He is the author of three books.
His favourite memories include reporting from East Berlin during the fall of the Wall and exploring the tunnels of the Large Hadron Collider on a bike.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.