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Tim Peake: Youngest son says he 'wants to go with daddy' as British astronaut leaves for launch pad

The 43-year-old said goodbye to family and friends before setting off to prepare for launch

Lizzie Dearden
Tuesday 15 December 2015 09:21 GMT
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British astronaut Tim Peake waves from a bus during a sending-off ceremony at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on December 15, 2015.
British astronaut Tim Peake waves from a bus during a sending-off ceremony at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on December 15, 2015. (AFP/Getty Images)

Tim Peake may have received congratulations from around the world for his historic space mission but there was at least one person unhappy to see him blast off today.

His youngest son, four-year-old Oliver, found it difficult to say goodbye to his dad as a crowd of relatives and well-wishers waved him off to prepare for launch.

Sitting on his grandfather’s shoulders, he cried loudly, saying: “I want to go with daddy.”

Britain's astronaut Tim Peake during a sending-off ceremony at the Baikonur cosmodrome on December 15, 2015. (AFP/Getty Images)

As Major Peake and his two fellow astronauts set off on a coach for the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Oliver was consoled by his mother as he clutched a toy.

The family’s countdown to blast-off was documented by a BBC Horizon special, which had been following them for the past year.

Major Peake talked of missing his sons during his years of training, saying: “That’s hard at times.

“Often when I talk to the boys they are counting down the number of sleeps to when they will see daddy again.”

His wife, Rebecca, said their two sons will miss their father “desperately” but were excited for him.

Tim Peake: Rocket rolled out

“Thomas, our oldest boy, does get what daddy is going to be doing,” she added.

“We have done things to help him understand what his dad’s life is going to be like for six months so we have 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.”

Family and friends waved the group off at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Kazakhstan on Tuesday morning, waving Union flags and cheering.

As they were leaving, music was played - an old Russian song about a cosmonaut pining for home.

Rocket man: Tim Peake was the subject of ‘Horizon: How to Be an Astronaut’ (Bill Stafford/NASA/BBC)

The crew were due to travel to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the world’s largest operational space facility, and prepare for launch at shortly after 11am GMT.

Their tiny Soyuz TMA-19 space capsule will blast off from Launch Pad 1, where Yuri Gagarin flew from to become the first man in space in 1961.

It is expected to reach the ISS within seven hours of launch, at around 5.30pm on Tuesday evening, where Major Peake and his fellow crew will spend six months carrying out experiments and maintenance as part of the Principia mission.

Major Peake is the first Briton to join the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) and the first fully British astronaut to be employed by a space agency.

Additional reporting by PA

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