Horizon (1964) s00e90 Episode Script

Tim Peake Special: How to Be an Astronaut

Tim Peake is about to fulfil a dream.
I saw an internet article that said, "astronauts wanted", but I'd never appreciated that, as a UK citizen, you could become an astronaut.
He is the first Briton to join the European Astronaut Corps.
Finding out that I'd been selected was a real mixture of emotions.
I was ecstatic, obviously, the overriding emotion was excitement.
Becoming an astronaut takes six years of the most demanding and rigorous training.
You do have to work hard.
I come from a technical background, I love systems, I love aircraft, and those aspects of my training - the EVA training, robotics, the Soyuz - I've lapped it up and enjoyed it.
For the past 18 months, Tim has kept a video diary, revealing the risks and pressures he faces.
I've just had my first run in the centrifuge.
I found it really hard to breathe.
It's like having an elephant sitting on your chest.
Horizon has been allowed behind the scenes to follow Tim's training and his family as he prepares to say goodbye.
The closer you get to space flight, the more optimistic you get.
The desire to fly increases so when people ask me, "Are you nervous about flying to space?", that's why I genuinely answer all the time, "Absolutely not.
"The thing I'm most nervous about is NOT flying to space.
" In two days' time, Tim Peake will climb on board the International Space Station.
I get around by bike in Star City.
It's the easiest way.
Everything is fairly close so whether it's going to the shops, whether it's going to the training hall, it's only a five-minute bike ride away.
As I get closer to flight, I'm being a lot more careful on my bike! You know, you become so aware of how careful you have to be.
You don't want anything to go wrong.
You want to make that launch date.
We're training in the same buildings that were used back in the '60s and, for the Russians, there's an enormous amount of national pride surrounding their space programme and I really enjoyed being immersed in this tradition of space exploration.
Tim's astronaut training has meant spending over nine months in Russia because, since 2011, only the Russian Soyuz can take crews to the International Space Station.
And, as all the controls inside the spacecraft are in Russian, every astronaut has to learn the language.
HE READS IN RUSSIAN - This is not good cos these words are all new, this lesson.
- Yes.
They're new words.
I just had the most awful Russian lesson, I felt like walking out halfway through, and what's worse is that the further down the training we go, then the more technical the Russian language becomes.
'Learning Russian has been 'the single most difficult aspect of my training.
'I love systems, I love diagrams.
' I'm not a natural linguist and Russian, for me, has been particularly hard.
The Sokol spacesuit is actually really comfortable, surprisingly comfortable.
It's quite a nice, soft spacesuit.
It's more comfortable when sitting down.
Of course, it's designed for the seated position so when you're standing up, that's why everyone looks hunched over cos it's kind of very tight when you're stood up.
During Soyuz flight training, Tim and the crew's response to emergencies has been constantly tested.
So we're going to do a six-hour simulation today, which pretty much takes us through all of the phases of flight.
It takes about six hours from launch to get to the space station and then we'll prepare for a descent and we'll go through the whole descent profile.
I suspect there'll be an emergency during the descent.
Each member of the Soyuz crew has a role to play, and to work as a team they've simulated launch, docking and descent time and time again.
My crewmates - Tim Kopra from NASA and Yuri Malenchenko from Roscosmos - both experienced flown astronauts.
Tim Kopra has spent a couple of months on the space station already and he also completed one spacewalk.
Yuri Malenchenko had five previous flights.
He's flown both the shuttle and the Soyuz and has completed five spacewalks as well.
He's a man of few words, but when he talks, you need to listen.
HE SPEAKS IN RUSSIAN Before ignition, the Soyuz spacecraft with its crew sits on 300 tonnes of kerosene and liquid oxygen.
Launch is a precisely engineered explosion.
the engines are all nominal.
You see Yuri Malenchenko there on the left.
That toy that is hanging there was given to him by his daughter.
We confirm a successful separation.
Six hours after launch, both the Soyuz and the space station will be travelling at 27,500kmph, 350km above the Earth.
They will then dock with millimetre precision.
INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN IN RUSSIAN In the Soyuz spacecraft, we rely on each other a large amount, especially if something goes wrong.
Then you're completely reliant on each other to do your work accurately, calmly and correctly.
The Soyuz is considered the world's safest for manned space flight, but emergencies can - and do - occur.
One of the things that can happen to the Soyuz spacecraft when it descends is that it will fall at a steeper angle and that's called a ballistic re-entry.
Very serious situation.
In 2008, Yuri Malenchenko survived a ballistic re-entry and missed his landing site by 475km.
The reason why I did the centrifuge run today was to get me used to the kind of Gs that I'm going to be exposed to.
8Gs is exposing you to the re-entry and that's only really if the re-entry goes wrong.
You might get up to 8 or 9 Gs for 30 to 40 seconds.
Just try to breathe.
It's like having an elephant sitting on your chest, so you can't possibly breathe through your chest, you have to breathe through your abdomen and almost gulping for air, just to try and take short breaths and just to keep that oxygen flow going.
During descent, the module will slow from 27,500kmph to 27kmph.
But the impact of landing is still a potential danger for the crew.
I had my Soyuz seats tailor-made for me.
The reason why the seat has to fit so well is really for the re-entry and the landing.
You lie in this bath of gypsum for about 15 minutes until the gypsum solidifies.
Professionals will then sand out your body shape.
It's critical that it fits you perfectly.
The Soyuz landing has been described to me by fellow astronauts as like sitting in a small car and being hit by a big truck.
We'll get our hands, our arms and our shoulders tucked in as snugly into this seat as possible and we're also advised not to have our tongue between our teeth for obvious reasons.
There's no point in thinking that it's just a simulation.
You've got to have the mind-set of what we're doing is very real and if there's an emergency situation, then you run with it as if this is what can happen.
The umbilicals have been retracted Each year, at least five supply rockets are launched to the space station, carrying food, water and fuel.
Liftoff of the ISS Progress 59 cargo ship on a fast-track journey to the International Space Station.
Earlier this year, a Russian Progress rocket failed to reach the space station.
The television camera was activated and showed a rather significant spinning, rotational spinning motion Just over a week later, it fell back to Earth, burning up on re-entry.
At the moment, it's a little bit difficult to know what's going to happen, because something went wrong with the rocket.
Now, that's the same rocket or it's very, very similar to the rocket that the manned vehicle launches in so clearly we're not going to go ahead with a manned launch if there is potentially something wrong with that rocket so, at the moment, we're kind of waiting to find out whether there'll be a delay to the next launch, which I'm the backup crew for.
Whilst the rocket malfunction was investigated, all Soyuz launches were suspended so Tim left Moscow and flew to Houston, Texas, where he trained with NASA.
So, at the moment, we've just left my house and we're on the way to Johnson Space Center.
It's about a 20-minute drive away and, as you can see, we're in a torrential downpour this afternoon.
A typical sort of summer's day in Houston, where we have these big thunderstorms - fairly impressive.
We have to train in all different areas around the world - Europe in Cologne, also in Russia and Japan and Canada as well - and when I looked at my schedule and I worked out how much time I'd be in each location, about 60% of my time was going to be here in Houston so, as a family man, it made sense to move the family here and come and live here.
Right, guys, sit up.
Look, let's have a look at this.
Now, who's that? - Daddy.
- Yeah.
Tim's a great dad and that's one of his massive plus points.
- Is that you? - Yes.
'Thomas, our oldest boy, does get now what Daddy's going to be doing.
' That's in Russia.
When I go to Russia on work, yeah 'He's starting to understand a lot more about space 'and clearly has quite a good grasp of what I'm about to do.
' Oliver, at four years old, we read stories and we talk about it, but he's still in that kind of imaginative phase of his life.
'We have done things that help him understand better 'what Dad's life is going to be like for six months - 'we've taken him to the simulator 'so he can see how the ISS is laid out, where Daddy will sleep' and where he'll eat, where he'll go to the loo, which is by far the most interesting part of it all! Where am I here? - In Russia.
- Yes, well done! That's the Soyuz spacecraft.
That's me strapping in.
We've always played it down, really, especially here.
It's not that big a deal, there's a lot of astronaut dads and mums out there so we didn't want them to feel different or unusual because of what their dad happens to be doing just now.
- You were there yesterday.
- Is that almost finished? Is it almost finished? 'My name is Tim Kopra.
'I work as an astronaut at NASA, the Johnson Space Center.
' I flew to space station in 2009.
I went up on Space Shuttle Endeavour and came home on Space Shuttle Discovery, spent two months on board and currently Tim Peake and I are crew members together.
In my opinion, the International Space Station is the greatest engineering achievement of mankind.
It was built over decades, really, if you go back to the design phase, and every component up there was brought up either in the payload bay of the space shuttle or was launched on a Russian Soyuz rocket and then all that was assembled with robotic arms and astronauts outside doing spacewalks.
A phenomenal effort and a phenomenal engineering feat.
I would describe the size of the space station as looking down on an American football field and that's essentially how big it is.
Its primary function is an orbiting laboratory and, inside, you can picture a three- or four-bedroom home.
It keeps our air clean, it processes our water - in fact, we recycle most of the water on board - and, as a consequence, we're able to live in this environment and do science.
The Johnson Space Center has an exact replica of the space station.
It's used for learning how it functions, for maintenance training and emergency evacuation drill.
We have It looks like a fire in node one.
We manually activated the alarm.
'This training is very important 'because space is a very harsh, unforgiving environment.
'Something like a fire or a rapid depress or a toxic release,' those are situations where the response that the crew has to do is very time critical.
Yuri, we need one last cabin CSA-CP reading.
If the fire becomes uncontrollable and the atmosphere becomes very contaminated, then in the worst case, of course, we would have to evacuate the space station.
'You have to perform these steps quickly and accurately by memory.
'You cannot afford to be looking in the emergency procedures.
' In 1997, an intense fire rapidly filled the Mir space station with dense smoke - a potentially fatal threat to the six cosmonauts on board.
Fire is a special problem in zero gravity.
It's a completely enclosed environment so there's nowhere for the smoke to go.
Things burn differently, it tends to burn in more of a ball rather than a peak flame.
Potential sources would be electrical - in racks and behind panels where the crew can't see it.
We also have oxygen stored up there in tanks.
Things like the spacesuits have oxygen tanks in them.
If you had a fire near one of these oxygen sources, that could lead to an explosion and that may be a situation where you would have to evacuate.
- That sounds good.
Get a final reading and isolate that.
You guys want to close the forward lab hatch? 'Tim did great.
He's very good at what he does.
'He's an excellent astronaut.
Tim and his whole crew did very well.
' - We'll see you down there.
- Right.
By early July, Soyuz rockets were assessed as flightworthy and a schedule for manned flights resumed.
It's Friday the 10th of July and, finally, today, we're off down to Kazakhstan for the launch, where I'm backup crew.
It's about six weeks later than it should have been because of the Progress mishap, which has delayed everything, but the rocket has been deemed safe, which is great news, obviously, so to actually go down to Kazakhstan to see the launch site itself, this will be my first launch that I'll be watching.
It's incredibly exciting, I can't wait.
In a remote corner of Kazakhstan, the Baikonur Cosmodrome has been the launch site for Soviet and Russian rockets since 1957.
When we arrived, I took a walk around and I ended up here and the sun was setting and I suddenly realised that, behind me, is the tree that Yuri Gagarin planted in 1961 prior to the first flight ever taken by a human being into space and it was a very humbling moment.
And then as I walked further down the Cosmonaut Grove, all the cosmonauts and astronauts that have flown before me, it really brought to me what it is that I'm going to be doing up there in space.
As launch day approached, both backup and prime crews were kept isolated from any chance of illness or infection.
At the moment, I'm in quarantine, which is why I'm behind glass.
I've been in quarantine for nearly two weeks now along with the prime crew and they launch in two days' time to the International Space Station.
It's a great opportunity as backup crew because you take part in this six months before your own launch and, for us, it's like a dress rehearsal.
I'm constantly putting myself in their shoes and thinking, "What's it going to be like in six months' time?" HE SPEAKS IN RUSSIAN European astronauts are allowed to bring partners to their backup launch.
This allows them to plan for the day of their own launch.
I've been fortunate enough to come out as spouse of a backup crew member so we get to see it and experience everything that goes on around it.
I rely on Rebecca hugely.
She's an immense base of support not just for our children, but also she provides a lot of support for me as well.
There are some things as you go through the training that you can discuss easily with your colleagues and your crewmates.
There are other things where really the only person you can turn to is your soul mate and your wife to be able to discuss things and for her to help me through.
I always figured that I married a man who loved doing exciting things, that had an element of danger.
You know, his job was flying helicopters as hard and as fast as they could go to test them out.
That's what makes Tim who he is and so much fun to be with so I'm very accepting of that.
Finding out that I'd been selected as an astronaut was a real mixture of emotions.
I mean, I was ecstatic, obviously.
The overriding emotion was excitement, but we had a serious discussion before I went for the medical and said, "Listen, are we happy as a family to go down this route?" Helicopter test flying on a day-to-day basis is probably more dangerous than his training, but, yeah, going up in a rocket into orbit definitely takes it to a new level and I think I would have to be fairly numb to the experience if I didn't have some emotions attached to that, but that's fine, you know, we'll be all right with that.
Behind me is the rocket that Kjell, Kimiya and Oleg will launch into space in three days' time and it's incredible to think that, just three days ago, I saw this rocket, it was in three different parts in two different hangars so literally over the weekend they've bolted it together and now it's being rolled out to the same launchpad that Yuri Gagarin launched from in 1961.
That was the first time I'd been close to a Soyuz rocket and to see it in the flesh was incredible.
Everyone said, "It's shorter than you expect," but I think I was ready for that so actually I thought it was bigger than I expected, I thought it's actually quite a large rocket.
And then to go down into the fire pit and kind of be underneath it as it lifted it up into position, that was incredible, just to see the first-stage rocket engines and being able to look up and see the whole height of the Soyuz rocket above you - incredible.
It's Wednesday the 22nd of July and it's about half past six.
I've just woken up from a short nap.
The reason I'm having a nap today is because we're about L minus nine away from the backup launch so I'm mirroring what the prime crew are doing and I'll be sharing the last dinner with them here in the quarantine quarters and then we'll all be on buses.
Prime crew on one bus, backup crew on the other.
So this whole proceeding, from now until launch, is a really well-oiled machine.
The timings are very particular, everything's set out.
Everything starts on time, everything stops on time.
We followed them out of the bus and then we've seen them off to the rocket, literally to the bottom of the rocket.
The rocket is incredible.
It's filled with all the cryogenic fuel so there's frosting all over the first stage and the second stage of the rocket itself, and that cryogenic fuel is boiling off, it's making noises and it's really a living beast.
We're about 1.
2km away from the launchpad and it's 25 past one in the morning and we're waiting for 3.
02 in the morning, when we'll see the rocket behind me launch with Kjell, Kimiya and Oleg on board.
INSTRUCTIONS IN RUSSIAN I'm back in the crew quarters.
It's about five o'clock in the morning.
It's been a long night, but an incredible experience.
It's quite surreal to think that, in less than five months, myself and my crewmates, Tim and Yuri, will be in their position and will be doing exactly the same thing.
If anything, tonight has just really increased the level of excitement and anticipation for the journey I'm about to take.
Over the last six years, Tim has been a regular visitor to the European Astronaut Centre.
Here, he trained to do science on board the space station and learn about the effects of space on the human body.
I'm now back in Cologne.
Yeah, I don't normally wear this kind of thing for fun.
Currently, I've got one of those temperature probes stuck to my chest, one to my forehead and all the data for 48 hours is being recorded on this monitor here.
Tim's physiology is constantly monitored and assessed to find out the effects of long-duration space flight.
At the moment, I'm being fitted up for ECG instrumentation and I'm about to get on the bike machine to do a VO2 max test.
It's our birthday present from the Space Agency, is that you always do all of these tests and examinations in your birth month.
The VO2 max test pushes the body's aerobic and cardiovascular systems as hard as possible.
This test is done before and after Tim's mission.
We have a warm-up of three minutes and then every minute, it's getting harder.
The measure is an EKG reading, the heartrate and CO2 exhalation and O2 that comes in your body.
Please just give with your thumb, OK, or not.
Don't talk, please, because it disturbs the measurement.
funf, vier, drei, zwo, eins.
In terms of human physiology alone, I've signed up for 23 experiments on my body and so we're using the space station as a great environment to learn more about how the body changes in microgravity during long-duration space flight.
Everything fine with your legs? OK.
funf, vier, drei, zwo, eins.
Und die nachste Stufe.
- 300.
- Wow, good one! - Very, very good.
Keep speed.
More speed is needed.
Keep on, keep on.
Finish and recovery.
Great job! He's perfect.
Perfect EKG reading and a fast heartrate recovery, all this indicates that he's in very good shape.
Enjoyed that? It was a wonderful way to start the morning.
Tim's physiology is studied closely because space flight has an enormous impact on an astronaut's health.
I'm Samantha Cristoforetti, I'm a European Space Agency astronaut of Italian nationality and I'm also a pilot and officer in the Italian air force and I recently returned from a 200-day expedition on the International Space Station.
The best thing about life on board, I would say that weightlessness is just the most amazing sensation you can think of, the sense of freedom, of owning your body and owning space in the three dimensions.
Although it may be the highlight of an astronaut's time on the space station, weightlessness is a major medical problem.
Here on Earth, during the entire human evolutionary period, we've had 1G.
Take it up into space, of course, and everything changes.
Our muscles and our bones are not getting the same stimulus that they would do if we were just walking around all day here on Earth so we start to lose calcium, bone density decreases and our muscle mass reduces because our muscle fibres are not being stimulated.
Now, to try and stop that happening too much, we exercise.
We have amazing facilities now on the space station in terms of physical fitness.
We have a machine just called ARED - the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device, which is a wonderful machine.
It basically allows you to do weightlifting with pretty big weights.
It's based on vacuum cylinders and you can set the resistance and you can do stuff like squats, deadlifts, push-ups and all kinds of resistive exercise.
Also the heart has a very easy time and it shrinks, as any muscle would shrink if it's not exercised fully, so we try and do cardiovascular exercise to try and prevent that from happening.
We have a treadmill which is called T2 that works with a harness that keeps you pushed down on the treadmill so you can actually run.
I enjoyed it because it was a break from actual work so at least I knew that at least two hours during the day, I will be able to take a break, and the biomedical engineers and the flight surgeons really push for us to have those two hours.
The main purpose of my mission, the main purpose of being in space, is to conduct and run scientific experiments.
That doesn't mean that I need to be an expert on every science experiment.
Clearly, with all the training that we have to do, we couldn't possibly also be an expert on all the science.
We do have to know how to run them and to work with the ground teams to make sure the experiments are conducted accurately and correctly.
Here is your breakfast.
- This is your space food.
- Swordfish for breakfast, lovely! We know exactly the energy content of those.
We're using the space station as a great environment to learn more about the amount of energy the body uses to a very accurate level so that we can calculate how much food an astronaut will need when you go to a long-duration mission to Mars.
You have to provide a urine sample.
Being a human guinea pig, if you like, felt quite strange at first, but you rapidly get used to the fact that you've handed your body over to science, really .
be it taking blood, urine, faeces, saliva - all these things.
It's a very privileged position to be in, to go to space, so I certainly don't mind using my body as a human guinea pig.
It's just another aspect of being an astronaut.
Thank you.
Yeah, so that's going to become a regular feature of life aboard the space station.
Six, five, four, three, two Following the failed supply rocket in April, the next was planned for late June, launching from Cape Canaveral.
Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Altitude - 32km, speed - 1kmps.
Vehicle on course, on track.
And we appear to have had a launch vehicle failure.
Since 2000, there have only been four supply rocket failures to the space station.
Two of those have occurred this year.
Today was a difficult day for the space programme.
This morning, I was watching the SpaceX 7 launch and I've been following the progress of SpaceX 7 quite closely because it's got some hardware on board that will be used during my mission, and it was very sad and disappointing to see the rocket explode after about two and a half minutes of flight.
I know how disappointed the team will be, not just at SpaceX, but also everybody who has been working hard in preparing those payloads.
There was an international docking adapter and there was also a spacesuit.
In fact, it was a size medium spacesuit, which, if I get the opportunity to do a spacewalk, that would have been the spacesuit I'd be wearing.
It just goes to show that getting to space is really difficult.
Every piece of equipment sent to the space station is rigorously tested to qualify as space hardware.
One of the most complex pieces is the EMU.
EMU stands for Extravehicular Manoeuvrability Unit, ie a spacesuit.
Now, this has to keep you alive outside the space station.
It has to protect you against the risk of micrometeorites impacting you at huge velocity.
It has to protect you from the extreme thermal environment, going from shadow to sunlight.
And also it has to provide a life support system so it has to scrub all the CO2 that you're breathing.
It has to provide you oxygen, it has to pressurise the suit and also water for you to drink.
The vacuum chamber is one of the training elements we have to do spacewalks.
The value of this is that it is the first time you're actually in a vacuum in a spacesuit.
It gives you the experience of having been in a vacuum and also gives you the confidence in the suit that, when you go into space, it is going to protect you 100%.
So, what we've got here are a class one set of EVA gloves for space flight.
And, if I just peel back this material here, you can notice there's an electrical connector.
The reason there's an electrical connector is because the fingertips actually have heaters in them and, as you go from sun to shade, it gets very cold and, if we're going into shade, we can turn our glove heaters on.
The Russians have three sizes - small, medium and large - and the US have about 45 sizes.
These gloves are really tailored to your hand and it's very important because we need to do tasks which require a lot of fidelity, sometimes using small tools and clips, and if you don't have a good fit, it's impossible.
I find it really exciting, yeah, handling all this stuff - the helmet and the spacesuit.
It kind of gives you a real buzz of excitement, knowing this is space hardware.
The most interesting aspects of us working on board the station and actually training for space flight is the fact that it is truly a team sport.
When we do spacewalks, you are definitely relying on your buddy outside.
Open the thermal cover and egress.
OK, the thermal cover is open and egressing.
So, my first memory of opening the hatch and looking down at the planet that's moving five miles a second was, "Holy mackerel! This doesn't exactly feel right.
" Dave Wolf, my EVA partner, said, "Hey, Tim, take a second and look out to your left.
" That's a great idea.
'And so I'm hanging on and looking out at the planet, 'but it's a lot to take in.
'It's a lot for your mind to process - that you're outside, 'in a vacuum, looking down at our planet in the black of space.
' It gives you pause.
Looking good, there, Tim.
Just take your time getting in position.
I'm in a good position now.
Johnson Space Center is an incredible place to work - a lot of history, a lot of nostalgia - but the office I'm working in now is the same office the astronauts were working in during the Apollo era.
Everything is bigger in Texas and so you obviously get used to the freeway, the trucks, the lifestyle, but I do miss the UK.
The one sad part of my training is that there is no training in the UK, so, for the whole two and a half years of my assigned flow, up until launch, I've kind of had to beg, borrow and steal time from my schedule to get back to the UK to visit friends and family so I've managed it for a few vacations, so I do miss it.
With launch less than three months away, Tim rehearses spacewalks he could make during his time on board the space station.
So, at the moment, it's 6.
30 in the morning and this morning is the last run that I have in the pool.
It takes about an hour to get ready.
This is going to get attached to my spacesuit so I want to make sure that I've got all of my tools, all of my equipment is exactly as I want it for the six-hour run today.
We're starting off working together on cable laying and, in fact, four hours of my day today is cable laying, which is probably one of the hardest things you can do in the spacesuit.
It's really finger intense and so I'll be tired by the end of today.
It's going to be a good run today, a good workout.
So, what does it feel like to put on that suit? Well, firstly, the suit is pretty difficult to get into.
It's like a small caving expedition just to get into it and it's a very tight fit.
Although it looks very big and bulky, actually inside the suit you're quite crammed in there, which is a good thing.
You don't want to have too much room to move around, so I like to have the suit pressing hard against my shoulders here.
It keeps me in one spot.
It was great.
I love my suit fit.
It takes a long time to get it right.
There are probably three activities that are really high risk for space flight - it's the launch, the re-entry and spacewalking.
It's one of the few times where, as an astronaut, you are completely responsible for your own safety.
So, you really are out there on a limb.
You need to be able to take care of yourself and understand exactly what's going on.
The hand rail right by the connector panel? Can you reach the hand rail on the top there, between the trunnion pin and that bracket? - Cut across between the two? - Correct.
'It's really just two white suits out in the vastness of space.
' Most people you talk to who have actually done a spacewalk find it to be as mentally exhausting as it is physically exhausting because you're in space, you're having to think 1,000 times faster in terms of where your hands are going and the environment around you.
Now 15 years old, the International Space Station needs regular maintenance, and for external repairs the only way to reach them is on a spacewalk.
Has anybody reached it between these hand rails? I actually approach the MBL run as if I was doing a flying sortie.
You think about a sortie, you choreograph it, you fly it the night before you actually fly the sortie, and it's the same in the MBL.
I spend many hours before going through exactly what I'll be doing at what stage to the detail of where I'm going to be putting my hands on each handhold, which handholds might be a difficult reach.
How's it going, Tim? - It's going good, thanks, Tim.
How you doing? - Wonderful.
'These guys are really motoring through there.
'It's a pretty hand-intensive task - laying cables, putting down lights.
'You're in that suit, 'you're against pressure with every motion you make,' you're constantly contracting your muscles so they're probably tired of gripping things at the moment! Yeah, I'm going to have to go back and untie that cable.
You have a go to release the waist tether from yourself.
It's really one of those tasks where you can't afford to have a slip in concentration.
If you just forget once to put down your local tether, which is what keeps you attached to the space station, and then suddenly turn around, start working on a tool bag or working on a piece of equipment, let go of the hand rails and then, before you know it, you're floating off space station, and that's a really bad day.
Houston, EV2 is off-structure at the airlock and drifting.
Reaching for HCM.
SAFER handle deployed.
Waiting for motion to cease.
Powering on.
SAFER is the Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue and it's the jetpack that the crew members are installing on their spacesuit and it allows them to rescue themselves in case they ever come off structure.
So basically there's six jets on every corner - the top two and the bottom two corners - and those six thrusters allow the crew member to manoeuvre themselves in space and bring them back to space station.
Pitching up.
Airlock identified.
It feels incredibly real.
Plus X, ten seconds.
Ceasing X.
N2 level - 35%.
Yeah, you get a real sense of actually being outside the space station.
Good closure rate.
'People might think you can use this to fly around space station.
'You don't have that much time.
' How are you doing on gas? Pretty low on gas, I'm at 6%.
Of course, if any astronaut finds themselves off-structure and fails to return to the space station, there's no other way to retrieve them.
Negative X.
Negative X.
- I've got the hand rail.
- All right, Tim, you made it back to station.
- Good job.
- Wow! That's pretty impressive.
That's good.
Tim's been great.
He didn't need much training.
I gave him a few hints and tricks that you wouldn't know unless you actually use a SAFER, but as far as the conceptual theory part of it, he understood right away.
There's very few times when he's not made it back.
Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! The prospect of doing an EVA, an actual spacewalk, of course, I think for any astronaut is the absolute icing on the cake.
It's a real dream come true.
You shouldn't really get your hopes up and, even if there's an EVA scheduled, all sorts of things can change and, until that hatch opens, you can't really know for sure you're going to get a spacewalk, but of course it's something that I'm really hoping for.
It was good, it was as expected.
It was tough, it was like I've been in the gym all day! Thanks for your help.
- Good morning.
- How are you? - Good, thanks very much.
- Good.
Check in to Moscow.
It's Sunday the 8th of November, about 7.
30 in the morning, and I'm at T5, London Heathrow.
I've just checked in for my flight to Moscow.
I'm really looking forward to getting on the way now, focusing on the mission.
Rebecca and the boys are still back in Houston, but I'll get to catch up with them in about two and a half weeks in Star City.
So, goodbye, UK! Tim has trained for six years to become an astronaut.
Now, the time for his launch is fast approaching.
I'm immensely proud to be British.
I've always been very proud to wear the union flag because you're representing your country in a unique position and so that puts some pressure on to make sure you come up to scratch.
I've never launched on a Soyuz, but I've seen several Soyuz launches.
It's moving to watch a launch.
It's also a pretty daunting thing, as well, because we've been up close to that rocket.
It's a very powerful machine.
You know, full of risk.
Our families make huge sacrifices for what we're about to do.
Daddy! 'I'm going to miss them hugely and that's hard at times' because often when I'll talk to the boys, they're counting down the number of sleeps as to when they'll see Daddy again.
- Would you like to go in one of these spacesuits and go underwater? - Yes.
Yeah? They will miss him desperately and we'll just try to make the time pass as quickly as possible for them.
I know Tim won't want it to pass too fast, but, yeah, it will be fine.
It's Tuesday the 24th of November and exactly three weeks today until I launch into space and my family - Ha, Thomas! I'm back in Star City and the family are here, so just enjoying some great time with them before heading down to Baikonur for the final two weeks in quarantine.
And, although I'll be missing Christmas this year, as you can see, Christmas has come early to Star City, so what better time to enjoy some fun in the snow before this incredible adventure into space?