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18 July 2013, 08:09
Chichester astronaut Major Tim Peake says the hardest part of preparing for his first mission to the International Space Station (ISS) is learning Russian.
He was the first Briton to be selected by the European Space Agency and is in training for Expedition 46 to the ISS in December 2015.
He will spend six months on the ISS, where communication with his astronaut colleagues will be key.
Major Peake said:
"The toughest part of the training has probably been learning the Russian language. For me it hasn't come easily.
"But I've been doing it for three or four years, so I'm at the stage where I'm really enjoying it and am much more conversational.
"The training has been hugely diverse - one minute you might be doing computer engineering, the next you might be doing emergency first aid.
"I've had to learn about space walking skills and weightlessness. There's a real diversity of different roles you have to perform as an astronaut.''
Speaking at the UK Space Conference taking place in Glasgow, he said the growing British space industry employs thousands of people and contributes £9 billion to the economy.
"The British space industry has actually been growing very steadily. The UK has always been hugely successful in areas such as telecommunications, small satellites and robotics, for example.
"We've got some major companies in the UK like Surrey Satellites and Clyde Space up here in Scotland who have been doing fantastic things over the last few years.
"So, the space industry in the UK really is a growing and booming economy.''
The two-day conference at the SECC was attended by David Willetts, minister for universities and science, who announced the Government is to invest £60 million in a revolutionary new rocket engine, Sabre.