We just floated in space watching the sunset… what a buzz’

We’re offering one lucky winner a ¤500 voucher for the Disney Store, plus Esther McCarthy talks to real-life spaceman Tim Peake about his out-of-this-world adventures and his new cameo in Disney Pixar’s Lightyear
Astronaut Tim Peake is thrilled to have a cameo in Disney Pixar’s new film Lightyear

Astronaut Tim Peake is thrilled to have a cameo in Disney Pixar’s new film Lightyear

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As one of Europe’s most prolific space astronauts, Tim Peake is well used to exploring infinity and beyond.

But Tim got to work with one of animation’s greatest spacemen when the makers of new movie Lightyear decided they wanted a real-life astronaut among their ranks.

The European Space Agency astronaut told how he was thrilled to get a call offering him a role in the Disney Pixar film.

“There was this opportunity to have a cameo role in it, which I thought was just fascinating, really exciting,” he told SW Magazine+.

“I’ve been a huge fan of Disney and Pixar growing up myself and with my younger boys as well as a parent. To have the opportunity to actually be in a movie was wonderful.”

The former International Space Station crew member got to voice ‘Tim from mission control’ as Buzz goes on his epic space adventures. “I had a day in the studios at Shepperton recording it, working with the director, seeing what goes on behind the scenes. For me, it’s been a real insight into an industry that I didn’t really know much about.”Like all kids and kids at heart, Tim is a huge fan of the Toy Story movies. Lightyear tells the story of the real-life spaceman, Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) who Andy was inspired by as a boy. Along with Woody, his Buzz Lightyear toy became one of his most beloved.

A key plot line in the movie sees Buzz attempting to travel at lightspeed, meaning his loved ones have grown older when he returns to earth years later and Tim was impressed by the high-concept idea.

“Buzz is traveling at lightspeed or as close to lightspeed as he can get. As you do that, your own body clock moves more slowly, so he keeps coming back, and the people he’s left behind have aged by several years. To try and introduce a scientific concept like that, which is completely accurate, is really clever and very brave. We were talking about that and then also some of the other aspects of living and the mundane points of eating in space and how boring the diet can be.”

The British astronaut joined the space programme after years of experience in the military and as a test pilot. But he says he struggled academically as a younger man, and it was years later before he started on his remarkable career journey.

“I didn’t get a degree until I was in my 30s, having to go back to school and study and work at that. For me, it’s been a real journey of discovery as I’ve gone through this route, and finally ended up in the right place at the right time with the right qualifications.

“It’s important to try and be as good as you can be at what you’re doing, whether you’re school teaching, whether you’re a medical doctor or a scientist, an engineer, because that’s who the space agencies are looking to select - they’re people who are at the absolute top of their game to come and join this astronaut corps and be part of a team that can go on and explore space.”

The astronaut has had many extraordinary moments looking at the world from afar. But there is one memory in particular - seeing the sun setting on planet Earth as he was on a spacewalk - that sticks out in his mind.

“When I was on a spacewalk with Tim Kopra, one of our main jobs was to fix a solar panel at the furthest edge of the space station. When we got there, we still had 10 minutes of daylight and we weren’t allowed to start work because there was live electricity coming down the solar panel.

“We got our worksite completely set up. And Houston just said: ‘Guys, hang out for 10 minutes, wait for the sun to go down’. We were able to clip on and just push off and float there in space, just watching Earth and watching the sunset. It was absolutely magnificent and beautiful.”

Lightyear is now in cinemas.

WIN AN INCREDIBLE DISNEY PRIZE To celebrate the release of Disney Pixar’s Lightyear in cinemas we’re offering one lucky winner €500 for the Disney Store. All you have to do to win this incredible prize is send your name and contact details to competitions@sundayworld.com with ‘BUZZ’ in the subject line before midnight on Sunday, July 3. Usual Sunday World T&Cs apply.


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