How does it feel to receive a phone call from space?

British astronaut Timothy Peake, who arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Dec. 15, wrote an apology on Twitter. As soon as he called the number, he said, "Hello, is this planet Earth?" He then realized he contacted the wrong number. The 43-year-old former army helicopter pilot did not say whom he was actually calling.

He is the first publicly-funded astronaut from Britain and his mission on the space station will last for six months. He boarded the ISS along with American Tim Kopra and Russian Yuri Malenchenko. Peake was based at the European Space Authority (ESA) - European Astronaut Center in Cologne, Germany where he trained for the Principia Mission, a long-duration flight to the International Space Station. This is not the first time he dialed Earth from the ISS. He tried calling home but failed to connect to his parents because they were out. His parents, Nigel and Angela, visited their daughter who lives nearby when they missed Peake's call from space. A voicemail message was left for them to hear. "This is just your son calling from the International Space Station. I'm sorry you're not in," Peake said in the voicemail message.

The Principia Mission

Dec. 15 marked the start of Peake's six-month mission. Peake left the planet aboard the Soyuz rocket from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Just a day after his arrival at the ISS, the posted an update in his Twitter account.

He is tasked to run scientific experiments for hundreds of researchers on Earth. A total of 30 scientific experiments await the British astronaut as well as research activities with co-station partners. Some of his experiments are geared towards acquiring knowledge on how the human body reacts in space and in a British fashion, perform a new tea-making process on zero gravity.

Timothy Peake's Career

Timothy "Tim" Peake was born in Chichester, England. Married with two sons, he enjoys leisure activities such as skiing, scuba diving and mountaineering. He was selected as an ESA astronaut and joined the agency in September 2009. In 2011, he joined five other astronauts in a mission to live underground for a week and explore a cave system in Sardinia. In 2012, he spent 12 days in the Aquarius habitat 20 meters below the sea off the coast of Florida for NASA's Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO). In 2012, he completed the training for spacewalks and in 2013, NASA announced that he will be joining other astronauts in the International Space Station.

Emergency ISS Spacewalk

Tim Peake supported colleagues Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra in the ISS's latest spacewalk on Dec 21. He was involved in the spacewalk as inside support as aided his co-astronauts wear their spacesuits and monitored the progress of the mission. The spacewalk is needed to fix a railcar used by the orbital facility's robotic arm.

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