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British astronaut blasts off in historic space mission
00:48 - Source: NASA TV
CNN  — 

Astronaut Tim Peake is the first British European Space Agency astronaut to arrive at the International Space Station.

Peake, 43, docked the Russian Soyuz to the ISS at 12:33 p.m. ET Tuesday, a little over six hours after blasting off from a launchpad in Kazakhstan, NASA said.

Peake will spend six months orbiting the Earth with the crew of the ISS.

He lifted off from Pad 1 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome – the same launchpad used by Sputnik, the first satellite, and Russia’s Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space – on the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft.

With the former test pilot and British Army Air Corps officer are NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and Russian commander and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, both veterans of space flight who have previously worked on the ISS.

They joined three astronauts currently on board the platform, which has been continuously occupied since November 2000.

After leaving the Cosmonaut Hotel, where astronauts traditionally stay before missions, Peake honored the long-standing tradition of space adventurers by signing his bedroom door.

Peake had to undergo 6,000 hours of training and learn Russian before embarking on the mission.

The astronauts are part of the European Space Agency’s Principia Mission, which will run experiments and test new technologies for future exploration missions.

The crew will take advantage of the effects of being in space – including weightlessness, extreme radiation and vacuum – to study the physical and psychological impact on humans.

Peake has committed to running the full distance of the London marathon from space, completing 26.2 miles on a treadmill as the ISS orbits the Earth. He will need to be harnessed when he does so to cope with being weightless.

While Peake makes history as the first British citizen to visit the ISS, Helen Sharman is credited as the first British astronaut, traveling to space in 1991.

The ESA says the crew is due to land back to Earth on June 6, 2016.