Skip to main content

Science Museum

Tim Peake’s Sokol spacesuit to go on display in Leicester following hugely successful UK tour

  • Tim Peake’s spacesuit will go on display at the National Space Centre, Leicester
  • Latest stop on UK tour, Peterborough Cathedral, has seen 800% increase in visitor numbers 
  • Next stop on the tour is Cardiff in November followed by Belfast in February

The Science Museum Group is thrilled to announce the Sokol space suit worn by ESA astronaut Tim Peake during his Principia mission to the International Space Station (ISS) is to go on long-term display at The National Space Centre, Leicester. 

The Sokol KV-2 emergency suit, which was acquired on behalf of the nation by the Science Museum Group with support from the UK Space Agency, will go on display in Leicester next summer following its appearance on the hugely successful UK tour of Peake’s spacecraft Soyuz TMA-19M, presented in partnership with global technology innovators Samsung.
 
The latest stop on the tour saw Soyuz touch down at Peterborough Cathedral, which won a national competition to host the spacecraft. The Cathedral – which is celebrating its 900th anniversary – has seen an incredible 800% increase in visitor numbers since the spacecraft arrived, compared to the same period last year. The tour continues with stops at the National Museum Cardiff and the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Belfast. 

ESA astronaut Tim Peake said: 'I’m delighted that so many thousands of people have come to Peterborough Cathedral to see the Soyuz capsule and the Sokol KV-2 emergency suit I wore on my Principia mission to the International Space Station. I think we all suspected this leg of the UK tour, supported by Samsung, would be a success, but the number of visitors coming to the Cathedral really has been astounding. So, thank you to everyone involved.

'I’m really thrilled that the Science Museum Group has agreed that once the tour is finished my Sokol spacesuit will go on long-term loan to The National Space Centre in Leicester. From next summer it will take pride of place in the space centre’s new exhibit charting an astronaut’s journey from training through to their mission launch, time in space and return to earth.'

Director of the Science Museum Group, Ian Blatchford said: 'It is rare to see the star objects in Britain’s great museum collections touring the length and breadth of the country, and I am so pleased with the success of the Soyuz tour to date. I am thrilled that so many people have had the opportunity to see this extraordinary artefact of recent space history in the beautiful setting of Peterborough Cathedral. 
 
'It also gives me great pleasure that following the tour Tim Peake’s Sokol spacesuit will go on long term display at The National Space Centre, Leicester, giving even more people across the country the chance to be inspired by Peake’s recent space mission.'

The Very Revd Chris Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough, said 'It has been a great privilege to host this remarkable exhibition in Peterborough Cathedral. It has also been humbling to see how fascinated people are to see these instruments of 21st century space travel in our ancient, sacred space. I am sure that many of our visitors will be delighted to know that they will be able to revisit the Sokol spacesuit, not so far away in Leicester.'

Malika Andress, Head of Marketing at the National Space Centre: 'Earlier this year the National Space Centre launched a brand-new permanent exhibition highlighting launching, living and working in space. Tim’s Sokol suit will take pride of place in this exhibition, alongside garments worn by Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, UK Born NASA astronaut Piers Sellers and even the EVA suit worn by Matt Damon in the movie The Martian. The exhibition welcomes visitors to the Centre and starts their journey into the amazing stories of space science and exploration. We are very excited to house the suit and help tell Tim’s story.'

ENDS

Notes to editors

For further information please contact Robert James, Science Museum Press Office, 020 7942 4401 or email robert.james@sciencemuseum.ac.uk  

Soyuz TMA-19M was acquired for the nation by the Science Museum Group in December 2016 and is the first flown human rated spacecraft in the UK’s national space technology collection. Space Descent VR, the stunning virtual reality journey voiced by Tim Peake himself, will accompany the touring exhibition and enable people all over the UK to experience in first-person the high-speed descent to Earth from the International Space Station. 

The VR experience has been produced especially for the Science Museum Group and is powered by the latest Samsung Gear VR technology set in a specially curated immersive VR lounge bespoke to each Tour Venue.

Upcoming tour venues and dates 

  • National Museum Cardiff: 15 November 2018 – 10 February 2019 
  • Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Belfast: 19 February 2019 – 12 May 2019 

Past tour venues and dates: 

  • National Science and Media Museum, Bradford: 27 September – 19 November 2017 
  • Locomotion, Shildon: 22 November 2017 – 15 January 2018 
  • National Railway Museum, York: 17 January – 8 March 2018 
  • Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester: 10 March – 13 May 2018 
  • National Museum Scotland, Edinburgh: 17 May – 4 August 2018 
  • Peterborough Cathedral: 11 August – 5 November 2018 

Tim Peake’s spacecraft—complete with its 25-metre parachute—is free to visit at all venues, and Space Descent VR with Tim Peake will be available to visitors aged 13 and over for £5/£6. The tour will be accompanied by an outreach programme to engage young people in schools with potential futures in STEM subjects.

The Sokol suit is worn by all cosmonauts during the launch of their mission into space and again during their return to Earth. The suit is connected to the spacecraft’s life support systems and provides approximately two hours of oxygen and carbon-dioxide removal in the event of a cabin depressurisation. The suit is tailored to fit the individual cosmonaut. 

About the Soyuz TMA-19M descent module 

  • Soyuz TMA-19M carried astronauts Yuri Malenchenko (Commander, Russia), Tim Kopra (Flight Engineer, USA) and Tim Peake (Flight Engineer, UK) to the International Space Station on 15 December 2015 and returned the same crew to Earth on 18 June 2016. 
  • The crew was part of Expeditions 46 and 47 to the International Space Station. 
  • The outer surfaces have been charred by temperatures of around 1,500 degrees Celsius experienced during atmospheric re-entry. 
  • The module weighs approximately 1.5 tonnes.