Tim Peake, the first British astronaut without American citizenship or a private contract, is going back to space. Peake, who began a mission aboard the International Space Station with the European Space Agency (ESA) in December 2015, returned to Earth last June, but already the ESA has confirmed there are plans for the astronaut to return to the ISS.
“Tim Peake will be returning to space aboard the ISS,” business secretary Greg Clark told reporters on Thursday. “The space sector is an important and growing part of the UK space agency.”
The announcement was made at the London Science Museum, during an unveiling of the Russian Soyuz TMA-19M space capsule that sent Peake into space and helped him return. The capsule, which forms part of a wider exhibit on space exploration, still bears the 1,600-degree celsius scorch marks from its re-entry.
Peake became an internet sensation with his regular updates of life on the ISS. He recorded flashes of lightning from space, accidentally called a pensioner, and set a record for fastest marathon run in space. On board the ISS, he’s brought a British touch to missions, cooking up a bacon sandwich, brewing a cup of tea, and at one point presenting Adele with a music award.
At the same event, Clark said that the UK aims to capture 10 percent of the space market by 2030, with space businesses set to receive a £125 million ($157 million) fund to promote growth. The fund is on top of the €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion) commitment to the ESA over the coming four years. In short, the UK is about to spend a whole lot of money on space travel, perhaps inspiring the next generation of Tim Peakes to visit the ISS.