After serving in the British Army Air Corps, this military test pilot began his career as an astronaut with the European Space Agency. He holds the distinction of being the ESA's first English astronaut.
After graduating from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, he served in an infantry unit known as the Royal Green Jackets and subsequently trained at the Empire Test Pilots School and studied aerodynamics at the University of Portsmouth.
In 2012, he became an aquanaut for NASA's NEEMO 16 mission. Around this time, it was announced that he would also serve, beginning in 2015, on two International Space Station missions.
He was born and raised in Chichester, West Sussex, England. His marriage resulted in two children.
He and French astronaut Michel Tognini both attended England's Empire Test Pilots School.