UK tour of Tim Peake’s Spacecraft attracts 1.3 million visitors

Thursday 23 May

Over 1.3 million people saw Tim Peake’s Spacecraft during its 20-month UK tour. The number visiting the exhibition at Peterborough Cathedral was the second highest of all eight venues.

It was announced today (23 May 2019) that 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.

Peterborough Cathedral attracted 171,361 visitors during the exhibition, the second highest number at any of the eight venues, ahead of Manchester, Cardiff and Belfast.

Peterborough Cathedral was unique in being the only non-museum venue on the tour, having won a national competition to host the spacecraft from 11th August until 5th November 2018.

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. 

Of the eight venues on the tour, the visitor numbers at Peterborough (171,361) were the second highest, ahead of Manchester (168,005), Cardiff (91,483) and Belfast (59,232), exceeded only by the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh (542,575).

Tim 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.

Peterborough Cathedral was the sixth venue on the tour and the only non-museum location. The Cathedral won the opportunity to host the exhibition after a national competition run by the Science Museum Group. During its showing at the Cathedral, over 1700 schoolchildren took part in educational visits and workshops and 10749 tickets were sold for the virtual reality experience, Space Descent VR.

The Dean of Peterborough, the Very Revd Chris Dalliston, said: “It was a great privilege to be part of this remarkable tour. The presence of the Soyuz spacecraft in the Cathedral not only attracted large numbers of visitors, but also prompted questions about the relationship between science and faith and humanity's place in the universe. To have such a wonderful exhibition during the Cathedral’s 900th anniversary year was the icing on the cake.”

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 SMG’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.

The Sokol KV-2 emergency spacesuit which was worn by Tim Peake during his Principia mission, and which joined the Soyuz on tour, is to go on long-term display at The National Space Centre, Leicester from this summer.

The visitor numbers for the UK tour of Tim Peake's Spacecraft were as follows:

Bradford, National Science and Media Museum  27 Sept - 19 Nov 2017 108,162
Shildon, Locomotion 22 Nov 17 - 15 Jan 2018 46,849
York, The National Railway Museum  17 Jan - 8 Mar 2018 126,509
Manchester Science and Industry Museum 10 Mar - 13 May 2018 168,005
Edinburgh, National Museum of Scotland 17 May - 4 Aug 2018 542,575
Peterborough Cathedral 11 Aug - 5 Nov 2018 171,361
Cardiff, National Museum  15 Nov 18- 10 Feb 2019 91,483
Belfast, Ulster Transport Museum  19 Feb - 12 May 2019 59,232
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