Tim Peake's Soyuz on display in UK

The Science Museum in London has acquired a piece of UK space history intended to inspire the next generation of British astronauts.

Tim Peake stands in front of his Soyuz capsule, newly acquired and revealed today by the Science Museum in London.
Credit: Jody Kinzett, Science Museum

The Soyuz capsule that carried Tim Peake to the International Space Station and back to Earth has gone on display at the Science Museum in London.

The Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft carried UK-born ESA astronaut Peake and his crewmates, cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, to the ISS as part of Expedition 46/47, launching on 15 December 2015. They returned on 18 June 2016 after 186 days in space.

The Soyuz capsule following its landing back on terra firma, Kazakhstan, 18 June 2016
Credit: ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2016

Peake rode in the right-hand seat of the capsule on his journey to the space station, as part of his Principia mission. During the mission, he performed science experiments and research activities, as well as outreach programmes to inspire children back on Earth to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths.

The Soyuz capsule is a Russian-designed spacecraft used by cosmonauts and astronauts alike to travel to and from the International Space Station. It sits on top of a Soyuz rocket during liftoff and, once in space, detaches from the rocket to take its passengers the rest of the way, eventually docking with the space station. It can hold three people in total, and is also used during missions to bring food and supplies to the ISS. 

Tim Peake, Tim Kopra and Yuri Malenchenko launch into space on 15 December 2015, inside a Soyuz space capsule atop a Soyuz rocket. The very same capsule is now on display at the Science Museum in London.
Credit: ESA

The acquisition of Peake's Soyuz capsule by the Science Museum marks the first flown, human-rated spacecraft to be acquired by the United Kingdom.

Doug Millard, deputy keeper, technologies and engineering at the Science Museum, says: “This spacecraft carries a lot of statistics and superlatives.

It’s been in space, attached to the International Space Station and orbiting the Earth, for six months. By my reckoning that means it’s clocked about 74,000,000 miles. That’s about 400,000 miles each day. To get into orbit its rocket had to accelerate it to 17,200 mph, the same speed it was travelling at when it started its eventual return to Earth. As it plunged through the atmosphere its surface heated to 1500 C°. You can see the scorching and charring on its surface.”

The Soyuz capsule is now on display in the Wellcome Wing on the ground floor of the museum and is free to view.

Carousel image: The Soyuz TMA-19M attached to the International Space Station
Credit: ESA / NASA


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