AgustaWestland2009-05-20 15:30:49

AgustaWestland Test Pilot Selected For Astronaut Training

AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, congratulates Tim Peake, AgustaWestland Senior Test Pilot, on his selection by the European Space Agency as the first British astronaut to join the European Astronaut Corps. The Corps currently consists of eight members from Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden.

The European Space Agency commenced a search for four new astronauts in May 2008 to conduct future missions to the International Space Station, and one day to the moon and beyond. The selection process involved several stages over a 12 month period to select four people from the 8413 valid applications.

Following the announcement Tim said "I am delighted to have been selected as a member of the European Astronaut Corps. I think that the space industry is going to play an increasingly important role in overcoming many of the challenges that humankind faces and to be a part of ESA's team working towards that goal is a great privilege."

Tim Peake was commissioned into the Army Air Corps (AAC) in August 1992 and gained his wings in June 1994 and was subsequently posted to Germany as a Gazelle pilot. In January 1998, he became a Qualified Helicopter Instructors (QHI) and in September 1999 was selected for an Exchange posting to the USA where he flew Apache helicopters with the US Army. On his return to the UK Tim was posted to Middle Wallop as one of the first British Army QHI's instructing on the AgustaWestland Apache AH Mk.1. He was awarded a 4* Commendation for his efforts in introducing the Apache AH Mk.1 into service.

In January 2005 he was selected for Empire Test Pilot School course and on graduating was posted to Rotary Wing Test Squadron (RWTS), Boscombe Down. He was employed as the senior Apache test pilot and Squadron Training Officer, in addition to conducting Special Forces projects. On completion of his tour at RWTS, Major Peake retired from the Army Air Corps aged 37, having served for 17½ years. Tim was then employed by AgustaWestland in February 2009 as a Senior Test Pilot, primarily flight testing Apache and Lynx helicopters. He is married to Rebecca and has a four month old son, Thomas.

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