A former British astronaut interrupts his old age on a new space journey

Tim Peake has been selected to lead a mission that will see four Britons travel to the International Space Station, which has orbited Earth at an altitude of 400km since 1998, sometime after next year.

Beck had already spent six months on the space station in 2015, as an astronaut for the European Space Agency (ESA). When Britons left the European Union in 2020, their country remained a member of the European Space Agency. This was possible because the space agency is not an institution of the European Union.

Therefore, Beck remained in European service. In January this year, he resigned from ESA’s active astronaut team and became an ambassador for the organisation. This made the return to the universe seem lost forever.

Mothball space suit

But now, with the US company Axiom starting to prepare an all-British mission, Peake is donning his spacesuit again. It has not yet been determined when it will travel to the International Space Station again. Axiom, which operates paid flights to the space station, has not yet found a date in the busy schedule of visits to the International Space Station, which is operated by the United States, Russia, the European Union, Japan and Canada.

There is a bit of a rush: according to the latest plans, the International Space Station will be scrapped in 2030. The 450-ton giant with a wingspan of 73 meters (including solar panels) will then be transferred to an increasingly low orbit, after which it will burn up In the atmosphere in January 2031.

Besides the time period, there are other obstacles that could pose a hurdle in Beck’s life. Such as funding: Since the mission cannot cost the British taxpayer a penny, Axiom has to raise money elsewhere, for example through sponsorship deals.

‘Exciting development’

However, Beck spoke to BBC Radio about an exciting development: “There’s a lot going on in the space sector at the moment and I think it’s great for Britain to be at the forefront of this era of commercial space exploration.”

Beck won’t be the oldest man ever to fly among the stars. That honor goes to William Shatner, the actor who played Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise for many years on the television series. Star Trek. In 2021, he flew on a flight for Origin, Amazon founder Bezos’ company that organizes short spaceflights just above the atmosphere. Shatner was 90 years old at the time.

The average age of astronauts around the world is 34 years. The oldest “full-fledged” astronaut was American John Glenn in 1998, who was 77 years old when he was aboard the space shuttle Discovery. He has flown around the Earth before, in 1962, when he was 35 years old.

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Winton Frazier

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