Watch Tim Peake manoeuvre a robot called Bridget while orbiting the Earth

Tim Peake has become the first person to manoeuvre a rover robot through a darkened, simulated Martian landscape while orbiting the Earth from space.

The British astronaut remotely controlled the explorer from aboard the International Space Station.

He piloted the rover, called Bridget, through the Mars-like rocky hangar at Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage.

Bridget - named after 1960s French movie star Brigitte Bardot - travelled around 20 metres (65ft) during the two-hour test, and entered a mocked-up darkened cave.

She briefly became stuck on a large fake rock and lost signal for around 10 minutes.

Loud applause and cheers from the control room at Airbus sounded as the experiment came to a close.

ExoMars rover
(Chris Radburn/PA)

Dr Elie Allouis, mission and robot engineer, praised Major Peake's driving throughout the experiment as "measured" and "careful".

He said: "Tim found targets, avoided obstacles - almost all of them - and returned to the entrance of the cave."

Tim Peake on screen controlling the rover from space (Chris Radburn/PA)
Chris Radburn/PA

Dr Allouis added the team were "elated" by what they had learned during the experiment.

The ExoMars rover is slated for launch in 2018 and will take nine months to reach Mars, using parachutes to land safely on the surface.

It will be the first rover sent to Mars specifically designed to find evidence of past or present life.

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