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Tim Peake’s spacecraft unveiled at the Science Museum as future mission announced

The Soyuz spacecraft used by Tim Peake in his Principia mission is set to inspire a new generation as it goes on public display at the Science Museum.

The UK's first European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut was at the Museum to unveil Soyuz TMA-19M where it was announced that he will go into space for a second time.

Acquired for the nation by the Science Museum Group in December 2016, Soyuz TMA-19M is the first flown human rated spacecraft in the UK's national space technology collection and is set to become the subject of a stunning new virtual reality (VR) experience voiced by Tim Peake himself.

Marking the 110th birthday of legendary Russian space chief Sergei Korolev and the start of the UK-Russia Year of Science and Education, the spacecraft's display celebrates the truly global effort behind space exploration today. Manufactured by RSC Energia for ROSCOSMOS the Russian Space Agency, the Soyuz tells the story of the UK's first ESA astronaut's journey to the International Space Station (ISS).

Science Museum Group Director Ian Blatchford said: 

"It's an honour to unveil Soyuz TMA-19M today and extend the space fever sparked all around the nation by Tim's launch on 15 December 2015. What better way to launch the UK-Russia Year of Science and Education than by displaying the Russian-built craft that took the UK's first ESA astronaut into and back from space?"

The display of this historic object, which carried Peake and his crewmates Yuri Malenchenko and Tim Kopra in Expedition 46/47 to and from the ISS, will build on the success of the Science Museum's recent Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age exhibition which was visited by 140,000 people in Britain and over 70,000 in Russia where it ran from June 2016 to January 2017. The exhibition was officially opened at the Science Museum by the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, with the legendary Alexei Leonov and Britain's first astronaut Helen Sharman taking part in events connected to the exhibition.

To mark Peake's mission to the ISS on 15 December 2015, the Science Museum welcomed 11,000 visitors to a celebratory day of events, including a live broadcast of BBC TV's Stargazing Live, which was watched by 3.8 million viewers.

Space Descent VR with Tim Peake will join the Soyuz TMA-19M in the Museum from 24 March 2017. This exhilarating 360° 3D state-of-the-art virtual reality experience is being created by award-winning Alchemy VR and made possible with support from Samsung and the generous co-operation of Tim Peake and the European Space Agency. Using the very latest in VR technology, it will enable visitors to experience what it feels like to sit inside the Soyuz's descent module as it makes its dangerous high-speed journey back to earth.


Notes to Editors

About the Science Museum
As the home of human ingenuity, the Science Museum's world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Welcoming over 3 million visitors a year, the Museum aims to make sense of the science that shapes our lives, inspiring visitors with iconic objects, award-winning exhibitions and incredible stories of scientific achievement. More information

About PAO RSC Energia
At the present time, PAO RSC Energia is the leading rocket-space enterprise in Russia, the head organisation in the field of manned space systems. Its efforts are focused on building automatic space and rocket systems (launch vehicles and orbital transfer vehicles); high-tech, multi-use systems to be used in areas other than space.

ROSCOSMOS is a state corporation that was established in August 2015 to oversee and implement a comprehensive reform of the Russian space industry. State space corporation ROSCOSMOS ensures the implementation of the Russian government's space programme and its legal regulation. ROSCOSMOS is also placing orders for the development, manufacture and supply of space equipment and space infrastructure objects. The state corporation is also responsible for international space cooperation and tasked with setting the stage for the future use of results of space activities in the social and economic development of Russia.

About 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.

About Sergei Korolev
Sergei Pavlovich Korolev was Chief Designer of the Soviet Union's space programme from the 1950s through to his premature death in 1966. He remained an anonymous figure in his lifetime, never publicly named while alive. And yet he was the instrumental figure that directed the pioneering missions of Sputnik, Yuri Gagarin, Valentina Tereshkova and many more. He combined technical skill with astonishing managerial flare that marshalled thousands across the Soviet Union's industrial, scientific and military sectors. He received a state funeral with pallbearers including General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, leader of the USSR.

About the Science Museum Group's Space Technology Collection
The Space Technology collection is rich in British rocketry and early British and European space science. Significant objects include a Black Knight Gamma 201 engine bay, the R4 Black Arrow launch vehicle (with Prospero satellite flight spare) and the Spacelab-2 X-ray telescope, flown on the Space Shuttle Challenger. Recent acquisitions include the Jet-X telescope, a Eurostar 3000 satellite and an engineering model of the world's first international satellite, Ariel 1. Significant loaned items include an Apollo fuel cell, J2 and RL-10 engines and the Apollo 10 command module. The Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft will join the Sokol space suit worn by Britain's first astronaut as representations of the nation's evolving human space flight activities.

About Space Descent VR with Tim Peake
Space Descent VR with Tim Peake is a 360° 3D state-of-the-art virtual reality experience, specially commissioned to accompany the Science Museum Group's landmark acquisition of Soyuz TMA-19M. Created by the award-winning Atlantic Productions using the very latest in VR technology, visitors will experience what it feels like to sit inside the Soyuz descent module as it takes its journey back to earth, travelling at speeds of over 500mph and reaching temperatures of 1500°C. The VR experience, which has been made possible with support from Samsung and the generous co-operation of the European Space Agency, will open in the Science Museum on 24 March. Book tickets

About Alchemy VR
Alchemy VR builds on the world class story-telling and technical innovation of Atlantic Productions to create some of the most compelling virtual reality experiences in the world. Alchemy VR's combination of storytelling and pioneering use of new technologies has created unique and breath taking experiences including David Attenborough's First Life VR and David Attenborough's Great Barrier Reef Dive VR. Alchemy VR's experiences have shown in some of the world's most prestigious cultural institutions and will be amongst the first virtual reality documentaries to launch on PlayStation VR. VR projects soon to be released by the studio include experiences that take you deep into the Amazon Jungle, across the sands of the Arabian Desert, and into the heart of Dubai.

Anthony Geffen, Founder of Alchemy VR and CEO of Atlantic Productions, says 'We are delighted to be collaborating with the Science Museum on this pioneering experience, which takes visitors on a journey no other technology could achieve. It builds on Alchemy VR's track record in creating location- based virtual reality experiences and using this medium to connect visitors with Museum objects in powerful and immersive ways.'

Atlantic Productions was founded in 1992 and in this time has won many of the most prestigious awards in television, including the coveted BAFTA award for best specialist factual twice in the last four years (2014 and 2011), eleven Emmy awards, two RTS awards and the best 3D award at Jackson Hole and Wildscreen. Recent productions include Inside the Commons (BBC), and David Attenborough's Great Barrier Reef (BBC).