BRITISH astronaut Tim Peake says the coronavirus lockdown is more stressful than being on the space station.
Despite spending six months trapped in a cramped spacecraft, the space explorer insists that homeschooling his two young boys during the pandemic has been a more stressful experience.
Major Tim Peake became the first British astronaut to complete a spacewalk and the first person to run the London marathon in space.
He finished his legendary 186-day Principia mission working on the International Space Station for Expedition 46/47 when he landed back on Earth 18 June 2016.
But the astronaut has been spending lockdown much closer to home with teacher wife Rebecca, 47, and sons Oliver, 12, and Thomas, eight.
Major Tim, 48, told the Daily Mirror: “I actually think life during lockdown at home was more stressful than being on the space station.
“We had two young boys of different age groups, doing different things, and you have to keep on top of all that.
“Space station life is much more structured.”
But Tim added that he was “cherishing” the time spent with family – as in normal circumstances he would be frequently travelling to visit NASA in Texas or Russia’s star city.
However, he described the experience of floating in space, secured only by a tether, as “unbelievable”.
Major Tim continued: “It was otherworldly. You’re looking at this incredible view of the earth.
“And you’re just floating there with nothing but a visor between you and… everything. It’s quite unbelievable.”
But the astronaut joked that, despite his galactic travels, he is still afraid of heights which he says is “crazy to think”.
Major Tim acknowledged that being an astronaut carried an enormous risk – and said he had even had conversations with his wife about what to do should he not return from a mission.
He added: “Rebecca and I talked about the will and all the finances, so she knew absolutely everything was.
“So subconsciously, we had made sure we had contingency plans in place if I wasn’t going to come back.”
The astronaut would write letters to his two sons while orbiting the Earth.
It comes as NASA plans to return to the moon in 2024 – and hopefully take European astronauts in the second or third wave of missions.
Major Tim said a trip to the moon would be an “incredible mission”, but ruled out going to Mars until his boys had grown up as the mission would take three years.
Tim Peake is planning to release his new autobiography ‘Limitless’ on October 15.
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