Tim Peake attends glittering launch event at Peterborough Cathedral

Saturday 11 August

Tim Peake was the guest of honour at a special launch night for the installation of Tim Peake’s Spacecraft, presented by Samsung and the Science Museum Group, at Peterborough Cathedral on Friday evening (10th August).

He was joined at the event by 380 invited guests, including Dame Mary Archer, Chairman of the Science Museum Group, Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group, and the Dean of Peterborough, the Very Reverend Chris Dalliston.

The dignitaries were accompanied into the Cathedral by Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra (better known as the theme music to 2001: A Space Odyssey), played on the Cathedral organ by Director of Music, Steven Grahl.

The Dean welcomed guests to the exhibition launch, saying that he was ‘absolutely thrilled’ that Peterborough had been awarded this 'extraordinary exhibition’. He stated that space 'deepened people's sense of wonder’ and hoped that over the coming months ‘many will enjoy learning more about space, and become inspired and challenged to become more fully what they're supposed to be’.

He was followed onto the platform by Dame Mary Archer, who thanked ‘the Dean and his team for their dedication to pull off this wonderful feat of bringing the Soyuz capsule to this magnificent place of worship’. She called the Cathedral 'a splendid backdrop’.

Then Tim Peake took to the stage to be asked some questions by children who had won the chance via a Heart FM competition to ask Tim a question at the launch. The questions were as follows:

Can fish survive in space in a tank? Would they be able to swim and how would gravity affect them? (Alex, aged 8)

Tim: 'I’ve never been asked that question before! Yes - they can actually thrive in space. In 2012, there was a Japanese experiment where three generations' worth of fish were bred in space.’

Did you listen to Ed Sheeran and can you eat popcorn in space? (Oscar, aged 8)

Tim: 'I didn't listen to Ed Sheeran in space (maybe next time if I'm lucky enough to go again), but popcorn is good to eat there. The worst things are crisps and biscuits because the crumbs go everywhere!’

How long will it be before we can live and go for a holiday on the moon? (Charlie, aged 7)

Tim: 'That’s hard to predict, but many people are working right now to make it a reality. I wouldn't like to live there forever, but I’d definitely like to visit the moon.’

If your spacecraft broke down in Space, who would rescue you? (Rosie, aged 8)

Tim: 'There are normally two Soyuz craft docked on the Space Station at any one time, so we should be ok. But if we did encounter problems, we’d have to rely on someone coming from earth to help us out.’

Following the speeches, guests were invited to view the Soyuz spacecraft, as-well as its 25m parachute displayed directly above the spacecraft and Tim Peake’s own Sokol spacesuit. They also enjoyed a unique virtual reality experience – Space Descent VR, presented by the Science Museum Group and supported by Samsung. This traces Tim Peake’s 250-mile journey back to earth inside the Soyuz capsule.

Tim Peake’s Spacecraft is on a national tour to eight cities around the UK. In March, Peterborough Cathedral won an open competition to be being the sixth venue on the tour.

Tim Peake’s Spacecraft, presented by Samsung and the Science Museum Group, opens to the public today (Saturday 11th August) and will be at the Cathedral until Monday 5th November.




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