The first British astronaut to travel to the International Space Station will return to Earth after a six-month space trip. Major Timothy Peake is ending his mission in space two weeks after the original date because the European Space Agency needed him to stay to maintain the station, working along with six other astronauts.

According to BBC News, Tim Peake is looking forward to spending time with his family. He also desires to breath fresh air and to feel the rain on his face again.

Tim Peake gives the thumbs up to life onboard the International Space Station. Credit: Destination Space

On June 18, Major Peakes will enter a Russian Soyuz space capsule with astronaut Colonel Tim Kopra, and Russian Yuri Malenchenko, a cosmonaut.

The space capsule will depart at 03:35 a.m. and will undock from the ISS at 06:52. After that, it will take two hours of orbiting around the Earth for the capsule to re-enter the atmosphere. The capsule is protected by a heat shield because it will reach 17,000 mph and will support high temperatures, over 3,000°F (1,650°C) when entering the atmosphere.

The descent will last three hours, and the astronauts will experience a gravitational force three to four times stronger than the gravity experienced on Earth.

The distance that separates the ISS from our planet is nearly 400 kilometers

After living six months in space, Peake and the other astronauts have to make special arrangements. They have to prepare their bodies with salt to be able to absorb more water, an action difficult to do at space. If they fail to do so, they could dehydrate when coming to Earth.

When the capsule lands on Saturday, Peake, and his colleagues will be welcomed by a rescue crew that will help the astronauts to exit the Soyuz space capsule. The team is necessary because the astronauts muscles will be weakened due to the lack of gravity in their stay at space. Another reason for the rescue crew is the harsh ride the capsule makes when going down to Earth. The astronauts can be dizzy after the landing.

Peakes will be checked by medical experts at the landing site, and then he will be taken on a helicopter to the European Astronaut Centre in Germany for more tests. There he will have the chance to have a family reunion with his two sons, Thomas and Oliver, and his wife, Rebecca.

Major Peakes is originally from Chichester, Sussex. He is 44 years old and was an Army, helicopter pilot.  He is the first British to orbit our planet since Helen Sharm in 1991. She traveled to the Russian Mir Space Station.

Tim Peake’s life from space: photographs and science activities for children

During his stay in the ISS, Timothy Peake circled the Earth around 2,800 times. He was 186 days in space and from a satellite link, the former pilot did several science activities for approximately one million British kids.

Another interesting thing the astronaut did out in space was to collect hundreds of photographs of locations around the globe. Esri UK built a mapping software to present 200 images taken by Major Peake and combined the information with the European Space Agency data.

The most impressive pictures include the cityscape of London, a burnt amber vista of Hassi Messaoud in Algeria, and a shot of the azure of the Atlantic Ocean.

Source: Daily Mail