Tim Peake joined the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) from December 2015 to June 2016 as the first British astronaut from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the first British man in space; Helen Sharman had previously become became the first Brit in space in 1991.
In January 2016, Peake became the first British space walker when he ventured outside the ISS to carry out repair works on the station. In April 2016, he controlled a prototype Martian rover to explore a fake Martian cave on Earth from the ISS. Since returning from his mission, he has taken a high-profile role in engaging the public with science and technology through the UK Space Agency’s education and outreach programme.
Peake has now been honoured for his work by the IET’s Board of Trustees, which has elected him as an Honorary Fellow. This is the highest grade of IET membership and its members come from a wide range of backgrounds and roles with a common aspiration of promoting the industries to the wider world. Other high-profile figures to have recieved the accolade from the IET include musician and STEM education advocate Will.i.am.
On receiving Honorary Fellowship, Peake commented: “It is a huge honour to be awarded a Fellowship from the [IET]. I am passionate about helping our young generation to achieve their potential, to encourage STEM skills and to use engineering and technology to create solutions. The IET does outstanding work in these areas and it is a privilege to be associated with them.”
Professor Danielle George, IET President, added: “I am absolutely delighted to mark the outstanding achievements of Tim Peake with one of our highest honours during our 150th anniversary year. Tim has excelled in his profession and is a huge inspiration to millions of people in the UK and across the world, especially young people, showing them that anything is possible. This honour is extremely well deserved – a massive congratulations.”
ESA has recently announced its first round of astronaut recruitment in more than a decade. The successful candidates will be involved in missions to the ISS and the Moon, including the Lunar Gateway. For the first time, ESA will be opening a vacancy for an astronaut with some physical disability which would previously have excluded them from spaceflight; an illustration on the ESA website depicted an astronaut with dwarfism and another with a prosthetic lower leg. The individual will be at the heart of the ‘Parastronaut’ feasibility study.
Peake spoke to E&T about preparing for his months on the ISS, ahead of launch in 2015. Last year, he published his autobiography, Limitless.