Tim Peake: First UK astronaut on International Space Station tweets from space

The space station is kitted out with data connections that will allow Major Peake to keep in touch with home, and call his family on Christmas day

Tim Peake has sent his first tweet from space, hours after becoming the first British astronaut on board the International Space Station.

“Hi from #ISS!” he posted, apparently using one of the various data connections on board the International Space Station. “What an incredible ride to space yesterday — Soyuz felt so smooth & powerful. Yuri did outstanding job getting us safely docked.”

The Soyuz is the Russian spacecraft that carried Major Peake and his colleagues up to the International Space Station during a six-hour flight. Yuri is Major Peake’s colleague, Yuri Malenchenko, who was also on board the Soyuz.

Major Peake set off in the Soyuz FG rocket at 11.03GMT, a day before the tweet was sent. The team arrived later that evening.

In a live link to family and friends viewing the drama on a cinema screen in a Baikonur theatre, he said of the journey: "It was a beautiful launch, that sunrise was absolutely spectacular. We also got the benefit of a moon rise which was beautiful to see.

"To Europe and the UK, I hope you enjoyed the show."

His wife Rebecca told him: "There were quite a few parties down on the ground, so your launch was well celebrated by everybody down here. Have a great mission. We love you."

During his time on the space station, Major Peake will be conducting dozens of scientific experiments and work in a strict routine.

But the International Space Station’s first Briton will get a bit of a break on Christmas Day, when he is hoping to speak with his family over a video link.

He and his fellow astronauts will also be able to tuck into their own festive meal after a Christmas pudding was sent to the space station in a supply delivery.

Additional reporting by agencies