Tim Peake's launch - as it happened

  • 16 December 2015
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Take a look at the build to Tim's launch...

Astronaut Tim Peake blasted off into space on Tuesday to become the first British man ever to board the International Space Station (ISS).

He'll now spend six months on board the ISS carrying out science experiments and trying to get young people more excited about space travel.

Here's how the historic day unfolded.

8:12pm - Tim speaks to family from the ISS

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Tim Peake: 'It was a beautiful launch'

Speaking from the ISS to officials and family members, he said: "It was a beautiful launch. That first sunrise was absolutely spectacular.

"We also got the benefit of a moon rise which was beautiful to see."

And he gave a thumbs up to his wife, Rebecca, who told him: "It was fantastic to watch that launch today.

"There were quite a few parties down on the ground, so your launch was well celebrated by everybody down here.

"Have a great mission. We love you."

7:59pm - The hatch is open!

Tim Peake, Yuri Malenchenko and Tim Kopra are all safely on board the International Space Station, where they were greeted by the current ISS astronauts.

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Tim Peake welcomed on board the ISS

5:33pm - Docking confirmed

The European Space Agency (ESA) have confirmed that Tim and the crew have successfully connected to the ISS.

Now there will be two hours of checks and work before the three men can float into the station and meet the rest of the astronauts.

Image copyright ESA

5.25 pm - The tricky bit

After a few failed attempts to connect automatically Tim and the crew are now controlling the approach to the International Space Station manually.

Image copyright Esa

They've had to reverse a bit and are 25 metres from the docking point.

5.15 pm - Getting close

The Soyuz capsule is within sight of the ISS now. This is actually an image of it taken from the space station.

Image copyright Esa

4.10 pm - The approach begins

The spacecraft is now in the middle of its approach to the International Space Station. This will take some time as the craft lines up with the station and relies on gravity to pull it in.

3.25 pm - Test your ISS knowledge

If you're looking to pass the time until Tim arrives at the ISS then why not test your knowledge of all things space with CBBC's International Space Station quiz.

3.15 pm - Are you inspired?

Newsround reporter Naz has been to one of Britain's biggest observatories, Jodrell Bank, to see a group of space fans who watched the launch there.

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Take a look at what these kids thought...

They've been telling her whether Tim's mission has inspired them.

3.05 pm - Proud parents

It doesn't matter how old you get, your parents are always going to be proud of you.

Tim's left his friends and family behind and won't see them for six months now but his mum and dad, Nigel and Angela, were in good spirits after watching the launch.

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How do Tim's parents feel after the launch?

2.02 pm - Tim's kids say goodbye

We've just got this footage through of Tim's two sons, Oliver and Thomas, watching their dad blast off. Watch the clip to see what it meant to them.

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Tim Peake's family wave as the Soyuz rocket blasts off into space

1.50 pm - What's waiting for Tim?

Just about three hours until Tim docks at the International Space Station and his thoughts now are no doubt turning to what he'll do when he gets there.

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What's Tim looking forward to?

Luckily we caught up with him before he left to ask what he was looking forward to the most.

1.45 pm - Kids in Liverpool

Newsround reporter Martin watched the launch with some of you, at the World Museum in Liverpool.

He said: "This was one of the best days ever! Some kids came in wearing space helmets, which they'd made themselves.

"The museum erupted with cheers during the countdown and everyone knew at that moment, history was being made.

"Afterwards they told me how inspiring it was for them, some now want to become an astronaut just like Tim Peake."

12.30 - Time for lunch?

After a busy morning Tim and his crew mates will need a good feed at some point.

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Kids try Tim Peake's space food.

Their craft is loaded up with all kinds of special stuff that they can eat in space. Leah got kids at the Science Museum in London to try some of it out.

12.00 - What happens now?

The spacecraft will now travel to the International Space station where it's expected to dock at 5.24pm.

So, that gives us time to chat. If you're wondering what effect being in orbit could have on Tim's body then check out this graphic.

Medic and space health expert Kevin Fong explains what space flight can do to you

11.30 am - Thumbs up from Tim

Technology is amazing. Not long after the launch this video was filed back from onboard the Soyuz showing Tim Peake giving everyone back home a big thumbs up.

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Tim Peake gave a thumbs-up and looked relaxed as the Soyuz capsule lifted off to the ISS

Prime Ministerial approval

You weren't the only one to get excited about watching the launch live on TV.

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Image caption The Prime Minister watched the launch live on TV from Downing Street.

Prime Minister David Cameron put this picture on Twitter saying: "It was great to watch Tim Peake blast off on his mission to join the International Space Station."

11.13 am - Goodbye rocket

The Soyuz spacecraft has separated from the rocket that powered it up into orbit and is now flying free.

Image copyright Esa

11.10am - What does take off feel like?

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Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield explains what happens straight after lift off.

Well who better to ask than one of the world's most famous astronauts. Commander Chris Hadfield was on hand to talk us through the moments just after the launch.

11.05 - Giant nappies

They've got all bases covered when it comes to preparing for the six hour journey to the ISS, including kitting the astronauts out in giant nappies.

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Leah tries on a spacesuit

Chris Hadfield has been taking Leah through why they are needed, and some of the other cool equipment onboard.

11.03 am - Blast off!

The Soyuz is up, up and away! Cheers around the country as the rocket heads off into orbit.

Image copyright Esa

Live: Tim Peake's launch

This was the moment it took off PLUS some of the reaction from back here on earth.

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Watch the moment the Soyuz rocket taking Tim Peake to the International Space Station launches into space

11.02 am - Less than 30 seconds to launch. Here we go....

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Watch kids countdown to the launch.

10.58 - Quick snack?

Leah's at the Science Museum, in London, where she's been getting kids to taste test some of the food Tim will have to eat during his six months in space.

10.56 - Good luck

Just minutes away from the launch and Newsround's with kids around the country preparing to take it all in. Ayshah's at Tim Peake's old school in Portsmouth where these kids sent their final good luck messages.

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Your messages for Tim Peake

10.30 - Emergency escape

The craft's emergency escape system has been armed and is ready to get Tim and the team out just in case anything goes wrong.

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Tim Peake settles into the Soyuz

Tim is settled into position on the craft and has already listened to one of the tunes his chose to help him prepare.... it's Lady Gaga if you were wondering.

10.15 am - good support

With the astronauts inside the Soyuz's support structure is lowered to get the rocket ready for launch.

Space superstitions

Tim has followed the same traditions as every other person who's taken off from the launch site in Kazakhstan.

Image copyright Getty Images

The people in charge make sure everything is done the same way as it was for the first space launch back in 1961, when Russian Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space.

That includes watching the same inspirational video before launch and even stopping at the same place for a pre-launch wee.

10.03 am - One hour to go

Exactly one hour to go until blast off and the launch pad has now been evacuated. Repeat, the launch pad has been evacuated. Don't worry though, it's all part of the plan.

Following the tests to see if radio communications between the spacecraft and mission control everyone else has left the launch area, leaving just the astronauts and the rocket.

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What's Tim's mission all about?

If you're new to all this and wondering just what Tim's mission is all about then check out our handy guide.

Recognise this astronaut?

Image caption Leah got to try out a real astronaut suit ahead of Stargazing live.

That's right it's Leah! She's presenting a special Stargazing Live, all about the launch this morning.

It's called Blast Off Live and on BBC1 from 10.30am. She sent this picture of her in a real space suit from behind the scenes.

9.33 am - Can anyone hear us?

At just after 9.30 Tim and the team will try to make contact with mission control - the group of scientists and other experts who are in charge of the mission back at base.

Image copyright Getty Images

Did you know...

The Soyuz spacecraft that Tim will blast off in travels at five miles a second! That means it could go from London to Edinburgh in less than a minute and a half.

Image copyright Getty Images

Inspiring kids

One of the aims of Tim's mission is to inspire more young people interested in space travel and technology.

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Ayshah meets excited students from Tim's old school

Ayshah is at Tim Peake's old school this morning speaking to kids about what the launch means to them.

If you're feeling inspired then check out our guide on What it takes to be an astronaut?.

8.53 am - There's no going back now

The hatch to the Soyuz spacecraft has now been closed with the astronauts sealed inside. There will now be all sorts of safety checks as Tim and the team look to see that everything is working properly.

Image copyright PA

The view from the launch site

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford is as close as it's possible to get to the launch site in Kazakhstan and explained what's going on.

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Sarah Rainsford explains all from the launch site.

8.33 am - boarding the spacecraft

Tim and the other crew members boarded the Soyuz spacecraft that will take them into orbit at 8.33.

Image copyright Getty Images

They'll go up on a special lift and then take stairs to the very top of the rocket.

How big a deal is this?

If you're wondering where this mission sits in the long history of space travel then check out Newsround's guide to the space race.

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Space travel through the years

8.23 am - On his way

Tim left the hotel earlier this morning saying his final goodbyes and heading off on a bus to the launch site.

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Image caption Tim said goodbye to friends and family, including his son, as he left the hotel this morning.

As he left his son asked if he could go with his dad into space. Unfortunately that's not allowed.

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Watch Tim Peake leave his hotel this morning.

He'll be up in space for the next six months and will miss Christmas.

Getting Excited

Kids around the UK are getting pretty excited about the launch with all kinds of events and parties planned.

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Watch kids countdown to the launch.

Check out this special countdown, with some cool facts about Tim's mission, that Newsround fans across the country have done for us.

8am - Getting the rocket ready

The Soyuz spacecraft that will blast Tim into space has just finished being filled with enough fuel to get it to the International Space Station. Fuelling started at 6.30am and finished at 8am.

Image copyright Getty Images

Everything you need to know about the launch

It's fair to say Newsround's pretty excited about the launch. Check out Ricky's bulletin from 7.40am this morning with all kinds of cool facts and pictures about the mission.

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Check out everything you need to know about the launch with Ricky here.

Early start - 6.43am

At 6.43am this morning Tim, and the other two astronauts travelling with him, put on the special pressure suits they have to wear during the launch.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Roscosmos commander Yuri Malenchenko, NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and ESA astronaut Tim Peake inflate their Sokol suits to ensure there are no leaks. in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Already this morning - 5.30am

The final go ahead for the launch was given at 5.30am this morning.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The weather is clear at the launch site in Kazakstan.

There had been worries about whether the weather could delay things but as you can see from this picture from the launch site there is not a cloud in the sky.

How's Tim feeling?

Lots of emotions going through Tim's head, no doubt, and lots for him to remember for the launch. But what is he most looking forward to when he eventually reaches the ISS? The man himself has been telling us.

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Tim tells us what he is looking forward to.

Other training

Tim has been training for years to become an astronaut.

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