Tim Peake has become the first British astronaut to conduct a spacewalk, after he left the International Space Station (ISS) to carry out maintenance work on 15 January.

The 43-year-old former army major blasted off to the ISS as part of a six-month mission for the European Space Agency (ESA) in December, becoming the first Briton in space since Helen Sharman travelled on a Soviet spacecraft for eight days in 1991 and the first to do so under a British flag.

Stepping outside the ISS Quest airlock just after 1pm GMT, Peake worked with Nasa astronaut Tim Kopra to replace the failed Solar Shunt Unit, which transfers electrical power generated by solar panels. The two are expected to spend around six-and-a-half hours on the exterior of the orbiting outpost.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was one of many high-profile figures to wish Peake luck as he conducted the historic feat.

Peake had told BBC Stargazing Live earlier this week."I think a spacewalk is absolutely the pinnacle of an astronaut's career."