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Astronaut Tim Peake, inspiration of 'Major Tim Pig' in Pigs Gone Wild scheme in Ipswich, commended in Queen's Birthday Honours

13 June, 2016 - 13:49
British astronaut Tim Peake. Pic: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

British astronaut Tim Peake. Pic: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

British astronaut Tim Peake set another record when he became the first person to be named in the Queen's Birthday Honours while in space.

The 44-year-old was aboard the International Space Station (ISS) when he received the call informing him of his recommendation for Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George.

It comes after the finishing touches were made to Major Tim Pig as part of the Pigs Gone Wild scheme in Ipswich.

The pig, inspired by pioneering British astronaut Tim Peake, is one of 39 which will be displayed all over Ipswich this summer as Pigs Gone Wild comes to town.

The EADT and Ipswich Star are the proud sponsors of Major Tim Pig, who was created by artist Jane Anderson.

The initiative is raising funds for St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich.

In 2015 the real Major Tim admitted he had “proud” links with Bury St Edmunds thanks to his army days, and former colleagues have told how he worked from RAF Wattisham, bedding in the new apache helicopters.

Eight days before his return to Earth, he spoke of his delight, and dedicated the award to those who had made his mission possible.

Sending a message from the ISS, he said: “I am honoured to receive the first appointment to the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George for extraordinary service beyond our planet.

“All of the training and preparation couldn’t prepare me for looking down on our Earth from orbit.

“But this isn’t an award for me.

“This is to recognise the hundreds of dedicated staff who have made my Principia mission possible, working together across national boundaries to build, operate and maintain our scientific outpost in space - the International Space Station.

“I am only one privileged person in a complex team of technicians, scientists, engineers, educators, trainers and flight directors, all working in pursuit of one of the greatest scientific and technical challenges of our time - exploring our Solar system for the benefit of people on Earth.

“This award is for them.”

Major Peake, who was recognised for services to space research and scientific education, became the first British person to walk in space on January 15.

He said the walk had been the highlight of his six-month mission, which began on December 15 last year.

The father-of-two graduated from Sandhurst in 1992 as an officer in the Army Air Corps and was selected for an exchange posting with the US Army, flying Apache helicopters at Fort Hood, Texas, from 1999 to 2002.

He returned to the UK and worked as an Apache helicopter instructor from 2002 to 2005, when he played a key role in introducing the Apache into service with the British Army.

On retirement from the Army in 2009, he was employed as a helicopter test pilot for AgustaWestland, flying Apache, Lynx, EH101 and A109 aircraft.

He was selected as a European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut in May 2009 and completed basic training in November 2010.

Maj Peake was appointed an ambassador for UK science and space-based careers in 2009 and is involved in working with the UK Space Agency in developing the UK’s microgravity research programme. He is based at ESA’s European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.

Maj Peake was born in Chichester and lives with his wife Rebecca and sons Thomas and Oliver.

He is due to return to Earth on June 18, and said he was looking forward to “private time” with his family, fresh air - and the feeling of raindrops on his face.

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