One small step for man: astronaut Charlie Duke on the Apollo 16 Lunar Module. Photo: NASA

MY CLUB • March 2020

My Club: astronaut Tim Peake

Tim Peake
Tim Peake

@astro_timpeake

As humankind prepares to return to the moon, British Airways is partnering with astronaut Tim Peake and former space pioneers to bring a live show to London in May 2020. We caught up with the Executive Club Member to talk about the show, his travels around Earth, and the wonders of outer space

Where’s on your bucket list?
I’ve always been drawn to remote areas. One of my favourite spots to photograph from space was the Patagonian ice fields – I’ve never been to South America, so that’s definitely on my bucket list. I’d also love to visit the Amazon. I had the opportunity to speak to Ed Stafford, the brilliant British explorer who’s walked the length of the river, and his stories are incredible.

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What’s your presiding memory from the first time you went to space?
One thing that stands out is that first view of Earth from space. I remember looking out the window and the moon was just rising up over the Pacific Ocean. It was glinting off the water and I had the most spectacular view of planet Earth and all the brilliant stars. Then, only 40 minutes later, we went from night into day. That first sunrise was absolutely mesmerising.

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Astronaut’s-eye view: Tim’s picture of the Alps from space

Where are your favourite places for an active holiday?
Scotland is where I love to go hiking, climbing and running. The Scottish Highlands are just beautiful. Further afield, Indonesia has some of the best dive sites in the world. I was very lucky to get to dive around Sipadan Island, Malaysia, with its incredible drop-offs. You go from a beautiful blue coral reef and straight over a wall into blackness. It’s like dropping into an abyss.

What’s been your favourite Earth-based travel memory?
When I was 18, I went on a three-month expedition to Alaska with Operation Raleigh (now Raleigh International). For the first month we worked with the forestry department deep in the remote countryside – there were bears everywhere. The second month was spent kayaking around Prince William Sound, Whittier, and Valdez to look at the ecological effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill a few years before. The last month was spent up in the mountains and glaciers. It was an incredibly special expedition, which has had a long-lasting impact on me.

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A trip like no otter: Tim’s expedition to Alaska shaped his formative years

When it comes to earthly travels, do you have any in-flight essentials?
I like to watch a movie and listen to music, so a set of good noise-cancelling earphones is essential. Also, a book to read and an eye mask to help me sleep. 

Do you collect Avios?
Yes, I have collected them over the years and I usually spend them on car hire, which is a bit dull! But it’s great for whenever I’m flying somewhere with British Airways, because I tend to hire a car from the destination while I’m at it. You can get really good deals using Avios.

You’re planning to go back to space twice before 2024. What are you doing in the meantime?
A whole mixture of things. I’m doing some outreach work in the UK. I’m an ambassador for STEM, for The Prince’s Trust and for Scouts, which is why I’m really excited that the Legends of Apollo show is supporting the Conrad Foundation whose aim is to inspire solutions for achieving global sustainability.

Tell us about Legends of Apollo
It’s a live show, which celebrates the Apollo era and the amazing achievements that came from that historic human spaceflight programme. I’m the presenter and Gerry Griffin, the former flight director for all Apollo manned missions, will be taking to the stage to talk about what it was like to be in mission control at the time, while astronauts Fred Haise and Charlie Duke will tell us about the incredible feats of Apollo 13 and Apollo 16. 

Legends of Apollo will run on 30-31 May 2020 at London’s Troxy Theatre. Executive Club Members can enjoy five per cent off the ticket price. Click here to buy your ticket

This article has been tagged Adventure, BA