Tim Peake’s capsule goes on display at Science Museum

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NASA/Bill Ingalls

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Tim Peake’s Soyuz capsule is shown on the Kazakh steppe shortly after it returned him and two other crew members to Earth

The spacecraft that carried Tim Peake to and from the International Space Station last year has gone on display at London’s Science Museum.

The museum says the Russian capsule is an important part of UK space history and hopes it will inspire the public.

The Soyuz TMA-19M has been refurbished, but is still slightly singed from re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Major Peake may also comment on the expectation that he will be given another mission to the space station.

Another mission?

The UK committed in December to continue to participate in the European Space Agency’s (Esa) space station programme.

And last week, Esa’s director-general Jan Woerner set out his plans for human space flight at a news conference in Paris.

He announced that another mission was “foreseen” for Major Peake in the next wave of European manned missions. A second flight for the British astronaut would likely happen in the period 2019-2024.

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Pallab ghosh

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The Soyuz has been installed as an exhibit at London’s Science Museum

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Paul Rincon

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Major Peake’s capsule sits atop a Soyuz rocket on the launch pad at Baikonur in 2015

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Major Peake gives the thumbs up during his launch into orbit

Just over a year ago, Tim Peake set off for his mission to the International Space Station. Within a few weeks he became the first British astronaut to walk in space.

Executives at the Science Museum hope the spacecraft’s connection to the British astronaut will prove a major draw.

Impulse buy

Museum director, Ian Blatchford, told BBC News that the purchase of the spacecraft was almost like an “impulse buy”. He explained that he made a casual enquiry while in Moscow over the summer whether the spacecraft was for sale and to his surprise the spacecraft owners agreed.

It was from within this 2m-high, bell-shaped vehicle that Major Peake witnessed the wonders of space.

The right-hand seat was Tim’s and from it he looked out of the window and saw the curvature of the Earth for the first time. It was also from this window that he witnessed what it was like to re-enter the atmosphere at the end of his mission.

The spacecraft provides the UK with a link to its own astronauts and a reminder of its role in space exploration.

The Science Museum says that it wants the display to inspire those that see it, especially children – many of whom might wish to follow in Major Peake’s footsteps.

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