In 2015, Tim Peake became the first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station and conduct a space walk during six months in orbit. His mission engaged more than two million students in outreach activities. He's an ambassador for STEM education, The Prince's Trust and the Scout Association. A former Apache pilot, flight instructor, test pilot and European Space Agency astronaut, Tim Peake is a veteran of 18 years military service. While aboard the ISS, he completed approximately 3000 orbits of the Earth and had covered a distance of 125 million kilometres. Born in 1972, Tim had a passion for adventure from an early age. The Cub Scouts and school Cadet Force gave him a taste for the outdoors and he was never happier than when he was hiking, kayaking or climbing. Aged 13, Tim's dream of becoming a pilot became reality when he took control of an aircraft for the first time. It sparked a passion for flying that has been a driving force throughout his career. By the time he was 18, he had already flown numerous solo sorties and been awarded a coveted position to join the British Army Air Corps. As a young second lieutenant, Tim's leadership skills were put to the test on the troubled streets of Northern Ireland, serving as a Platoon Commander on attachment to the Royal Green Jackets prior to commencing his flying training. He gained his Army Flying Wings in 1994 and was awarded best student on his course. Whilst his peers were following more traditional officer career paths, Tim fought to become a flying instructor – a move that would shape his future and ultimately lead to him becoming an astronaut. After a year teaching students the art of military flying, he was selected for an exchange posting to the 1st US Cavalry Division in Texas, flying the fearsome Apache attack helicopter. Highly sophisticated and technically demanding, the Apache appealed hugely to Tim's thirst for new challenges. His time with the US Army taught him the importance of international co-operation and the benefits of forging strong partnerships. Promoted to Major and with over 2000 hours of flying experience, Tim's career was about to take an important turn. He applied for the Empire Test Pilot's School and, following a gruelling selection process, was accepted onto the prestigious course. As someone who left school aged 18 with three unexceptional A-levels, Tim did not have the greatest academic start in life. However, he is a testament to the fact that with hard work and determination anything is possible. After nearly 18 years military service, Tim left the Army in 2009 to work as a senior test pilot. At the same time, having seen a recruiting advert from the European Space Agency (ESA), he underwent a rigourous yearlong astronaut selection with 8000+ other hopefuls. Tim was selected as an ESA astronaut in May 2009 along with five classmates. He had to learn Russian in addition to understanding the science and engineering of space flight. Astronaut training covered a plethora of topics as diverse as dentistry, minor surgical procedures and survival training. Parabolic flights, AKA the 'vomit comet', gave astronauts their first taste of weightlessness and underwater training allowed crews to perform simulated space walks for hours at a time, whilst the centrifuge prepared them for the punishing g-forces of launch and re-entry. Teamwork and communication are vital skills for any successful space mission. Tim spent seven days exploring a cave network deep underground Sardinia with four other astronauts from Russia, Japan, Europe and the USA. In additional to understanding cultural differences, this environment allowed the astronauts to develop their leadership skills under stressful conditions. Tim was assigned a mission to the International Space Station in 2013. After further training with his crew-mates Tim Kopra and Yuri Malenchenko, he launched to space on 15 December 2015.