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UK tour of Tim Peake’s spacecraft attracts 1.3 million visitors as Science Museum marks Apollo anniversaries with Summer of Space

  • Over 1.3 million people saw astronaut Tim Peake’s Spacecraft during its 20-month tour of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales presented by Samsung and Science Museum Group
  • Soyuz TMA-19M goes on permanent display in the Science Museum, launching the Summer of Space
  • Original Apollo 10 command module simulator console goes on UK display for first time as world marks 50 years since Apollo Moon missions
Tim Peake brings Soyuz back to the Science Museum

Tim Peake joined the Science Museum Group today in announcing that over 1.3 million people visited the Soyuz spacecraft from his Principia Mission during its 20-month tour of the UK. 

Peake announced the remarkable visitor figures as Soyuz TMA-19M was officially unveiled in a new permanent display at the Science Museum to launch a museum-wide Summer of Space.

Soyuz TMA-19M is the first flown human rated spacecraft in the Science Museum Group Collection. It goes on display at the Science Museum after touring to venues in Bradford, Shildon, York, Manchester, Edinburgh, Peterborough, Cardiff and Belfast on the National Tour of Tim Peake’s Spacecraft presented by Samsung and the Science Museum Group. The Sokol KV-2 emergency space suit which was worn by Peake during his descent to Earth, and which joined the Soyuz on tour, is to go on long-term display at the National Space Centre, Leicester, from this summer.

Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright, said: "The record number of people who saw Tim Peake’s Soyuz spacecraft highlights how science and space travel continue to inspire us. The tour’s success underlines why we make our world-class culture accessible to everyone in all corners of the country.”

Sir Ian Blatchford, Director, Science Museum Group, said: “The tour of Tim Peake’s spacecraft to museums in all four corners of the UK has been a testament to the power of culture to inspire. With Russian, European and UK space ingenuity all contributing to the success of Tim’s mission, the importance of international collaboration in achieving progress for us all is more starkly obvious than ever.”

ESA Astronaut, Tim Peake, said: “I’m incredibly proud that over 1.3 million people across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have had the chance to get up close to my Soyuz spacecraft. It’s wonderful how the Science Museum Group and Samsung have come together through this tour to extend the Principia Mission’s impact in inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

Space Descent VR, the stunning virtual reality journey voiced by Tim Peake himself, accompanied the spacecraft on tour, enabling nearly 50,000 people to experience in first-person the high-speed descent to Earth from the International Space Station. The VR experience was produced especially for the Science Museum Group and is powered by the latest Samsung Gear VR technology.

A three-strand Education Outreach Programme, developed by the Science Museum Group and Samsung, reached over 20,000 students through a combination of in-school sessions with the Science Museum Group’s Explainer team, special visits to see the Soyuz and a bus designed to replicate the setting of the International Space Station, with headsets showing Space Descent VR. In addition to the Education Outreach Programme, the bus visited communities across the UK welcoming over 21,000 onboard.

As the world heralds half a century since the Apollo Moon missions, the Soyuz has been joined on display at the Science Museum by the original Apollo 10 command module simulator console; a key object in NASA’s contribution to the space race, and one which has never been seen in the UK before.

On long term loan from the Smithsonian, the control panel goes on display alongside the Apollo 10 command module ‘Charlie Brown’, which still holds the record for the fastest crewed vehicle in history having reached 39,897 km/h during its return to Earth on 26 May 1969. The Apollo 10 mission took astronauts Gene Cernan, Tom Stafford and John Young on two successful orbits of the Moon in a dress rehearsal for the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing which followed two months later in July 1969.

The Science Museum is marking the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing with a dedicated Summer of Space, including:

To find out more please contact Simon Thompson in the Science Museum press office on 020 7942 4443 or via

Press images are available to download from

Notes to Editors

Notes to Editors 

About the Science Museum Group
The Science Museum Group is the world’s leading alliance of science museums, welcoming over five million visitors each year to five sites: the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York; the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester; the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford; and Locomotion in Shildon. We share the stories of innovations and people that shaped our world and are transforming our futures, constantly reinterpreting our astonishingly diverse collection of 7.3 million items spanning science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Our mission is to inspire futures - igniting curiosity among people of all ages and backgrounds. Each year, our museums attract more than 600,000 visits by education groups, while our touring exhibition programme and websites bring our creativity and scholarship to audiences across the globe.           

About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. 
Samsung inspires the world and shapes the future with transformative ideas and technologies. The company is redefining the worlds of TVs, smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, digital appliances, network systems, and memory, system LSI, foundry and LED solutions. For the latest news, please visit the Samsung Newsroom at

About the National Tour of Tim Peake’s Spacecraft, presented by Samsung and the Science Museum Group

Attracting 1.3 million visitors across 20-months, the tour of Tim Peake’s Spacecraft went to eight venues in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales:

  • The tour launched at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford where it attracted 108,162 visitors.
  • The tour’s second venue was Locomotion in Shildon, which saw a 200% visitor increase from the same period in the previous year as it welcomed 46,849 visitors during Soyuz’ stay. 
  • The National Railway Museum in York had 126,509 visitors to its display of Soyuz in its Great Hall.
  • Tim Peake’s Sokol spacesuit joined the Soyuz on the tour at Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum, and attracted 168,005 visitors.
  • Tim Peake held a Q&A with schoolchildren at the launch of the display at the National Museum of Scotland, where 542,575 people visited the Soyuz. 
  • The tour continued at Peterborough Cathedral, which had won a national competition to host the tour. The cathedral saw 171,361 visitors, which represented a 900% increase in visitors on the previous year.
  • National Museum Cardiff saw 91,483 visitors to the tour display.
  • Belfast’s Ulster Transport Museum welcomed 64,414 to the final stop of the tour.

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.

About space technology in the Science Museum Group Collection 

The Science Museum Group Collection contains significant space technology objects. As well as the Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft now on display in the Exploring Space Gallery, there is the Sokol KV-2 emergency spacesuit worn by Tim Peake and the Sokol spacesuit worn by Dr Helen Sharman, the first Briton in space. Also in the collection are seven dishes, including a bacon sandwich, made by chef Heston Blumenthal for Tim Peake’s Principia Mission.

Items from the Science Museum Group Collection related to the Apollo missions include a signed Apollo 11 Flight Plan; Apollo mission patches (now on display); a full-size replica Apollo 11 lunar lander; original charts for both the Apollo 10 and Apollo 11 missions and a lunar lander model, also on display in the Science Museum, made famous in a viral Tweet.  

The Apollo 10 command module is displayed in the Science Museum on long-term loan from the Smithsonian, as well as a piece of Moon rock on loan from NASA which was brought back by the Apollo 15 crew.

Additional space related highlights from the collection include a V-2 rocket; the British Black Arrow rocket; NASA astronaut training chair; space shuttle computer; space station toilet; full-size Eurostar 3000 satellite; prototype atomic clock for Europe's global navigation system; the Sir Patrick Moore Archive and a Star Trek communicator toy.

Further information is available via:

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