Peterborough Cathedral visitors are set for an out of this world experience when Tim Peake's spaceship lands for a special exhibition this year.
The Soyuz craft which took the British astronaut to the International Space Station - and back to Earth - will be part of a major event at the cathedral, after Peterborough beat four other cities in a bid to host the spaceship.
Soyuz TMA-19M was used by Tim Peake for his Principia mission in 2015-2016, while the Space Descent VR, which accompanies it in the exhibition, is a unique virtual reality adventure that brings the experience alive using Samsung Gear VR technology. It is expected that Tim Peake’ own spacesuit will also be part of the display, as well as the parachute used in the spacecraft’s return to earth.
The Soyuz will be displayed in north transept and aisle inside the Cathedral from Saturday, August 11 until Monday, November 5. Services and events will carry on as usual during the exhibition, providing an added attraction to the existing programme.
Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group, said: “It is rare to see the star objects in Britain’s great museum collections touring the length and breadth of the country. It is even rarer to see a spacecraft in a Cathedral. I am extremely pleased that thousands of people from all around the diocese of Peterborough will have the chance to see this extraordinary artifact of recent space history on their doorstep, and I cannot wait to see the Soyuz take the Cathedral’s 900th birthday celebrations out of this world when it arrives in August.”
The announcement was made at the launch of the Soyuz exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. The Dean of Peterborough, the Very Revd Chris Dalliston, who attended the Manchester event with colleagues from the Cathedral, said:
“I’m absolutely delighted that we shall be hosting the Soyuz spacecraft in Peterborough, especially in the year we celebrate the Cathedral’s 900th anniversary.
“Throughout the centuries, science and religion have been connected by a shared delight in the created world, a sense of wonder about its origins and destiny, and a desire to seek for the mechanisms and the meaning behind our universe. We hope that many who come to see the Soyuz in our wonderful and ancient Cathedral will begin to get answers to both those questions, and delight in the astonishing inventiveness of humanity and the extraordinary creativity of God.”
Following its exhibition in Manchester until 13th May, Soyuz will go on show at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh before coming to Peterborough in August.
It will be free to visit the spacecraft when it arrives.
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 weights approximately 1.5 tonnes.