07:19 - Source: CNN
British astronaut: As a boy I looked to the stars

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Tim Peake, 3 crew members landed Saturday in a Soyuz capsule

"What an incredible journey it has been," Peake says

CNN —  

Tim Peake’s passion as he’s describing seeing the Earth from space for the first time is contagious.

Tim Peake landed in a Soyuz capsule in Kazakhstan on Saturday morning. He was accompanied by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and U.S. astronaut Timothy Kopra, who’ve spent 186 days in space with him.

“What an incredible journey it has been– thank you for following!” Peake tweeted before the Soyuz spacecraft took off.

Peake, 44, made the most of his time in space.

He ran the London Marathon strapped to a treadmill, held a science lesson for 300,000 schoolkids and ventured out of the space station on his first spacewalk.

“The first time I saw the Earth was just a few moments after insertion into orbit,” he tells Christiane Amanpour in an interview from the International Space Station.

As he looked out of his window from inside the rocket, Peake “saw planet Earth shortly followed by a moonrise and it was just the most incredible feeling to be in orbit and see the planet for the first time. It was spectacular.”

The former Army aviator and helicopter test pilot has had a love for space since he was a child.

“As a small boy, I looked up to the stars and often wondered about our place in the universe and the solar system and was fascinated by space.”

The father of two spends much of his time conducting scientific research that he seems equally excited about, including flame-combustion experiments and medical research in microgravity, which he thinks “is fascinating research and will have huge benefits for people back on Earth.”

“We’re really in a very privileged position up here, we have an enormous responsibility with regard to the science that we’re trying to do, and so we just have to try and be as professional as possible.”

They three landed at 5:15 a.m. ET.

“But what I would say is of course we can do things in space that we couldn’t possibly do as one nation and this is the model that we need to take forward – certainly when we’re looking at going to the moon, and further to Mars and ultimately to explore our solar system.”

CNN’s Madalena Araujo contributed to this report