‘He has had a wonderful ride, but we are glad Tim Peake is back safe’, says Chichester mayor

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The mayor of Chichester has come forward to express the city’s pride in Tim Peake’s achievement, following his safe return this morning.

Sussex astronaut Tim Peake touched down on Earth at 10.15 UK time (Saturday June 18) following his 186 days in space.

The three astronauts landed in the capsule, under the orange and white parachutes, south-west of the major Kazakhstan city of Karaganda.

Tim was sat to the right of commander Yuri Malenchenko with NASA’s Tim Kopra on the left.

Chichester mayor, Cllr Budge, said shortly after Peake’s arrival: “The whole city is very proud of Tim Peake – we have been following his every step.

“We look forward to seeing him in Chichester again after he is debriefed and is safe and sound, especially as he has been bestowed with freedom of the city.

“We are all very pleased Tim and his colleagues are now back on Earth and safe – I am sure he has had a wonderful ride.”

The trip home involved a descent through the atmosphere in the tiny middle section of the spacecraft, the descent module.

The three astronauts felt their first pull of gravity since leaving Earth 62 miles from Earth.

Helicopters were in the area ready to release the three men.

Friction on the capsule’s heat shield slowed its speed from 17,398mph to 514mph and raised the outside temperature to 1,600degC.

Leader of Chichester District Council, Tony Dignum, was also thrilled at the news that Tim Peake is now back on planet Earth.

He said: “This has been a wonderful achievement for an Englishman, especially for us to know that he grew up in this area.

“It has been such a courageous experiment, and we are all very pleased he is back with us safely.

“We hope he will be back to full strength quickly and we are thoroughly looking forward to seeing him in Chichester again.”

The astronauts are being helicoptered to Karaganda airport, where according to tradition they will be offered bread and salt and a traditional Kazak hat.

Major Peake will then be flown to the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, while his American and Russian colleagues go their separate ways to Houston and Star City, near Moscow.

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