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British-born NASA astronaut Piers Sellers becomes OBE

'Tremendous honour', says immigrant space ace

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A British-born spaceman has been appointed an OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours List.

Dr Piers Sellers has been honoured for his services to science, reports the BBC.

The astronaut has flown on three space shuttle missions, with his most recent one taking place this year. He was on board the space shuttle Atlantis, STS-132 mission, which lifted off to the International Space Station on its final flight in May. During his shuttle trips he carried out six spacewalks, according to his official NASA biography.

Sellers was born in Crowborough, East Sussex, but is now an American citizen - a requirement for any wannabe NASA spaceman whose birthplace is outside the US.

As noted by the Beeb, Sellers is one of only five Brits to have flown in space so far. About 500 people around the world have lifted off into orbit since space missions began.

"It is a tremendous honour, and I'm really glad that the whole business of spaceflight has been recognised in the UK," Sellers, who joined NASA in the 1980s, said.

A full list of people appointed New Year Honours, which includes singer Annie Lennox and CBI president Richard Lambert, is available here. ®

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