Former Army Air Corps major Tim Peake is the first publicly-funded British citizen in space. While Britons have been in space before, all either had US citizenship or were privately funded (Helen Sharman), making this a historic first for British spaceflight.

Peake's mission for the ESA, titled Principia after Newton's Principia Mathematica, is a six month stint on the International Space Station where he will perform over forty scientific experiments for the ESA and other research partners on Earth, as well as aiding with the maintenance of the station itself.

After launching from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan late this morning aboard the Russian Soyuz craft alongside NASA's Tim Kopra and the RFSA's Yuri Malenchenko, he is due to dock with the ISS later today and join Scott Kelly, Mikhail Kornienko, and Sergey Volkov as they near the end of a year in space.