Lonely Planet Writer

An 'impulse-buy' spacecraft has just gone on display at London’s Science Museum

The spacecraft used by Major Tim Peake in his mission to the International Space Station has gone on display at London’s Science Museum.

British astronaut Tim Peake with the Russian Soyuz capsule which has gone on display at the Science Museum in London.
British astronaut Tim Peake with the Russian Soyuz capsule which has gone on display at the Science Museum in London. Image by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

The two-metre-high capsule has been refurbished, but is still ‘slightly singed’ from its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, reports the BBC. Peake spent six months in space in 2016 and was the first British astronaut to walk in space. The former army officer and helicopter instructor beat over 9000 other applicants for his place on the European Space Agency’s programme. While in space he also repaired various parts of the station, ran the London Marathon (on a treadmill) and orbited the earth approximately 3000 times.

A general view of the Russian Soyuz capsule which carried British astronaut Tim Peake and his crew to and from the International Space Station.
A general view of the Russian Soyuz capsule which carried British astronaut Tim Peake and his crew to and from the International Space Station.

Science Museum director Ian Blatchford described the bell-shaped craft as an ‘impulse buy’. He told the BBC that he made a casual enquiry while in Moscow last summer and was told the owners would consider selling it. The vehicle landed in the Kazakh steppe in June 2016, with Peake and two other astronauts on board. He described the return as ‘the best ride I’ve ever been on’. The Science Museum hopes the spacecraft will encourage others to follow in Peake’s footsteps. ‘I hope that for everybody who gets to visit it will have a really great source of inspiration,’ said Peake, ‘and maybe sow the seeds of future dreams for other people.’

The Soyuz TMA-19M capsule carrying International Space Station (ISS) crew members, Tim Peake of Britain, Yuri Malenchenko of Russia and Tim Kopra of the U.S., descends beneath a parachute before landing near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on June 18, 2016.
The Soyuz TMA-19M capsule carrying International Space Station (ISS) crew members, Tim Peake of Britain, Yuri Malenchenko of Russia and Tim Kopra of the U.S., descends beneath a parachute before landing near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on June 18, 2016. Image by SHAMIL ZHUMATOV/AFP/Getty Images)

The Science Museum sits in Kensington alongside the Natural History Museum, and offers seven floors based around science, technology and nature. Exhibits take in smartphones, trains, hot-air balloons and medieval dentistry, with a wide range of activities for kids. Peake has announced he will be undertaking a second expedition to space with the ESA, probably in 2019.
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