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