Rocket blasts into space A rocket has blasted off carrying British astronaut Major Tim Peake to the International Space Station (ISS).
He looked at the on-board video camera and gave a thumbs up gesture as the spacecraft completed its first booster stage and the boosters fell away.
Zero gravity was reached by the Soyuz spacecraft after nine minutes of travel. The gravity indicator inside the capsule could be seen floating away in the on-board footage.
It followed an emotional farewell with his family and friends, during which his young son cried loudly, saying: “I want to go with daddy.”
The 43-year-old will spend six months on the ISS and told a news conference on Monday he is most looking forward to looking at Earth from space.
The launch was watched by Major Peake’s young children and his wife Rebecca.
Major Peake launched from the same spot from which Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space in April 1961.
The crew had a tense wait of more than an hour in the tiny capsule before the schedule launch time.
It will take around six hours for the crew to reach the ISS, which travels around the Earth at 17,500mph at an average altitude of 220 miles.
During his time aboard the space station, Major Peake will take part in hundreds of experiments aimed at finding out the effects of microgravity on his own body.
In April he will run the entire 26.2 mile London Marathon on a treadmill aboard the space station.
Other maintenance duties could see him taking space walks.