Tim Peake on board the International Space Station, reading a book Helen Sharman had taken to space in 1991 (Picture: Tim Peake).
Britain’s space industry is booming.
Last year the UK Space Agency valued the sector at £14.8 billion, employing almost 42,000 people across the country.
The UK's involvement in space stretches back to before the Second World War, with the government initially focused on its military capabilities.
Forces News has taken a look back at the key events that have shaped the industry over the decades.
Timeline Of Britain In Space
1933: The British Interplanetary Society is founded
It is the world’s longest established organisation devoted solely to supporting and promoting the exploration of space and astronautics.
The word “interplanetary” in the title was chosen by the group so they were not constricted to just this galaxy but to encompass interstellar space travel.
The group of space flight enthusiasts dreamed of using rocket propulsion to fly to the Moon and the planets.
1943: First proposal to fund a British manned suborbital space flight submitted to the government
However, it was rejected because of limited funds following the Second World War.
The plan was to launch an adapted V-2 rocket called 'MegaRoc' to carry humans to space.
Developed by Germany during the war, the supersonic V2s were the world's first long-range missiles.
At the end of the war, V-2 rockets were seized by the Allies, forming the basis of early American and Soviet rocket design.
1952: British Space Programme officially launched by the UK government
This was done with the intention to develop the country's space capabilities.
The UK programme came as Cold War tensions were hotting up between the US and USSR, triggering the space race.
1962: First British satellite is launched by Nasa
'Ariel 1' was launched on 26 April.
Designed in the UK, it was built by Nasa and launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
It established Britain as the third satellite-operating nation after the US and USSR.
A further five satellites were launched between 1962 and the 1980s as part of the programme.
The Black Arrow rocket was the first British power to enter space (Picture: Imperial War Museum).
1971: Britain officially enters the space race with the Black Arrow carrier rocket
Launched from Woomera in South Australia, it was the first - and so far only - British rocket to successfully place a satellite into orbit.
Despite the triumph, Black Arrow programme's government funding was cut.
The satellite, named 'Prospero', still remains in space and is expected to continue circling the Earth for the rest of the century.
1975: Britain teams up with nine other nations to found the European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) sought to consolidate European space technology and provide a capacity that was not reliant on the US.
Britain provided much of ESA's technology and expertise, at the forefront of many early projects, like the International Ultraviolet Explorer - the world's first high-orbit telescope.
1985: British National Space Centre is established
It was a government agency to coordinate national and international space activities.
1991: Helen Sharman becomes the first British astronaut to enter space
She is also the first woman to do it.
Ms Sharman spent eight days orbiting the Earth in a Soyuz spacecraft.
2003: 'Beagle 2' is launched
This was the British-led effort to land on Mars.
However, contact was lost just after six days before entry into the atmosphere, and it is not known for certain whether it reached the Martian surface.
2004: Virgin Galactic is set up by Sir Richard Branson
Sir Richard Branson announced that his company would sponsor the flight of an experimental air-launched rocket-powered aircraft.
If SpaceShipOne's flight was successful, then Virgin Galactic would finance the design and build a fleet of commercial spacecraft.
It is said the spacecraft would allow thousands of people to travel to space.
2015: Major Tim Peake is the first British ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station
Alongside crewmates Tim Kopra and Yuri Malenchenko, Major Peake, a British Army Air Corps officer, visited the International Space Station.
They launched on a Soyuz rocket on 15 December 2015.
Tim took part in over 250 scientific experiments for ESA and international partners during his mission.
He returned to Earth on 18 June 2016.