Tim Peake - Britain’s first International Space Station astronaut – on the BBC

I'm thrilled that BBC Two and BBC Four, joined by content from across the BBC, will be bringing audiences every step of Tim Peake's incredible adventure in what is a really exciting moment for British science.Kim Shillinglaw, Controller, BBC Two and BBC Four
Date: 06.11.2015     Last updated: 06.11.2015 at 09.30
On 15 December 2015, Tim Peake makes history as he launches into space - embarking on a six-month mission to become Britain’s first ESA (European Space Agency) Astronaut and the first Briton to serve a mission on the International Space Station. The BBC's coverage includes a Horizon special, Stargazing Live Launch and Docking Shows, and Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.

The BBC will be the home of all things Tim Peake in the coming months with programmes and activity covering the launch, Tim’s journey into space and regular updates and details of his time at the Space Station. These include Horizon Tim Peake Special in December on BBC Two, Blast Off Live: A Stargazing Special on BBC One in December and Live Docking Show (BBC Two) on 15 December, The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: How To Survive In Space (BBC Four) and Stargazing Live (BBC Two) in January 2016. On CBBC, Blue Peter and Newsround will be covering the mission in depth and CBeebies Stargazing returns.

Kim Shillinglaw, Controller of BBC Two and BBC Four, says: "No other channels do science like BBC Two and BBC Four - programmes such as Stargazing Live and the Sky at Night are great watches that make a genuine contribution to our understanding of the wonders of our solar system. I'm thrilled that both channels, joined by content from across the BBC, will be bringing audiences every step of Tim Peake's incredible adventure in what is a really exciting moment for British science."

BBC Breakfast

On Friday 6 November BBC Breakfast bring a space special, 8.35 – 9.15am, talking to Tim on his last time in the UK before he goes to the international space station in December. Tim will also be doing a Q&A with kids as part of the 40-minute special. BBC Breakfast will also be live from the Science Museum on 15 December ahead of his launch.

Horizon Tim Peake Special

Transmission: December on BBC Two
For the last two years, Horizon has had unprecedented and unique behind-the-scenes access as Tim trains for this six-month mission and for his launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on the 15 December 2015. Horizon also has exclusive access to Tim’s own video diary. He has filmed every aspect of his training for launch in a Soyuz rocket (and the rollercoaster descent), life on board the International Space Station, spacewalks and the science he will be performing. The programme also exclusively features Tim’s wife, Rebecca and his two sons as they prepare for life without husband and father. Narrated by Tim Peake, this Horizon gives us both an intimate portrait and remarkable insight into the world of an astronaut.

Blast Off Live: A Stargazing Special

Transmission: 15 December on BBC One
Following the success of the eclipse coverage on BBC One, Stargazing Live returns to the daytime schedule for a momentous one-off national celebration, as British astronaut Tim Peake blasts off to the International Space Station. Hosts Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain will be joined in the studio by a team of presenters and experts, as the clock ticks down to the lift off at 11.05am.

Stargazing Live Special: Tim Peake Docking

Transmission: 15 December on BBC Two
A special live event covering Tim’s capsule docking with the ISS and him entering the station that same evening. The programme will give viewers a unique perspective of Tim’s mission, and the scale of the achievement behind the International Space Station. Presented by Dara O Briain and Professor Brian Cox, the live broadcast will come from the Science Museum in London which will be the focus of national events to celebrate the Astronaut’s launch.

The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: How to Survive In Space

Transmission: December on BBC Four
In this year's Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, How to Survive in Space, space doctor Kevin Fong takes us on a ride from launch to orbit and to the cosmos beyond, following the mission of British astronaut Tim Peake. Space and technology allowing, Tim will be a part of the lectures from on board the International Space Station.

Over the course of the three lectures, Dr Kevin and his other astronaut guests tackle the unique challenge of protecting fragile human life against the hazards of space, revealing the surprising ways that science, medicine and engineering allow us to achieve the remarkable feat that is human space travel.

Stargazing Live

Transmission: January 2016 on BBC Two
Stargazing Live returns for its sixth season, following the successful Aurora and Total Eclipse-spotting spectacles of the last two series. This time, our highlight will be Tim Peake on-board the International Space Station. Time and technology allowing, Tim will chat with Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain, and share his experiences of life in space. Through a series of specially recorded video messages, he will show us how space has affected his body, reveal how he and the crew deal with the dangers of space, and the experiments he’ll be doing throughout his historic mission on board. Stargazing will go behind the scenes at the European Space Agency’s Astronaut training Centre in Cologne, where we will experience the kind of training that Tim Peake went through before taking off into space, including venturing into a centrifuge live on air.

CBeebies and CBBC

Children of all ages will be following Tim’s mission with great interest and curiosity and BBC Children’s have a wide range of programmes to reflect this. On CBBC, Newsround has been covering the Tim Peake mission in depth from the moment it was announced. The programme will be visiting Tim during the final part of his training in Moscow, and will have live coverage on TV and online of the launch, as well as all the latest from his mission on the International Space Station.

When Tim becomes the first British ESA astronaut to go to the International Space Station he’ll be taking a part of Blue Peter with him, because last year he chose 13-year-old Troy’s Mission Patch design for his space suit from thousands of Blue Peter viewers competition entries. Barney Harwood meets Tim in the ESA astronaut training facility in Cologne, to find out how he’s feeling before he embarks on his mission and what experiments he’ll be doing in space, and in the New Year Barney will travel to ESA Mission Control in Munich to find out how the International Space station is supported from the ground. He will tour the facility and control room and meet the team who keep spaceships in space.

For younger viewers, CBeebies Stargazing returns in January and there’s lots of excitement about Tim’s mission. There will be specially shot footage of Tim sharing with the young Stargazers what’s involved in training to be an astronaut. And throughout the week, Tim will give updates on his mission. Pre-schoolers can get involved by downloading Tim's mission patch from the CBeebies Website, colouring it in and asking a grown up to upload their picture, giving Tim a 'Thumbs Up!'.


On the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show (weekdays 6.30am to 9.30am), Chris Evans will be catching up with Tim Peake while he’s in orbit aboard the International Space Station at the start of his six-month mission.

Next February, BBC Radio 3 will have Great Leap Forward, five essays exploring how humans might live on other planets. On BBC Radio 6 Music, there will be a Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour space special on Sunday 13 December, 2-4pm. Tim Peake will be suggesting tracks for the Songs For Guy feature – music he thinks Guy might not have heard and would love.

In When Britain Had The Right Stuff (BBC Radio 4 on 12 December) Richard Hollingham draws on little-heard radio and television archive from the 1950s as well as new interviews, and uncovers the forgotten history of Britons in space. He also asks why - after decades of indifference - the British government is now supporting space flight.

iWonder Guides

There will be a selection of BBC iWonder content available at bbc.co.uk/iwonder through November and December.

In Tim Peake: How I Became A British Astronaut, Tim Peake writes a timeline about his life and career, including his time as a school army cadet, flying Apache helicopters for the British Army, becoming a test pilot and his selection for the ESA astronaut corps. Featuring exclusive personal footage, including his time in the military, discover Tim’s characteristics and qualities that have made him the perfect fit to be Britain’s first European astronaut. (To be published on 6 November.)

In the guide Do You Have What It Takes To Be An Astronaut? Tim Peake welcomes you from Star City, Russia and lets you know the basic criteria for astronaut selection. You can then try three ESA approved sample tests of physical health, decision making and spatial ability. (To be published on 14 December.)

There will also be an historical timeline available, Britain’s Hidden Role In The Space Race, which details how Britain’s original spaceflight ambitions withered but were replaced by satellite brilliance and a key technological role in European space exploration, culminating in the recent Rosetta comet mission and Tim Peake’s ‘Principia’ mission to the ISS. It is produced in collaboration with the Science Museum. (To be published on 7 December.)