Soyuz TMA-19M Could ‘Visit A Venue Near You’ Competition To Select One  Extra Tour Destination

European Space Agency Astronaut Tim Peake launched a ‘first-of-its-kind’ national tour of the Soyuz spacecraft used for his Principia Mission, with the aim of inspiring a generation of people across the country.

The Science Museum Group, which acquired the capsule Soyuz TMA-19M in 2016, and global technology innovators Samsung, have joined forces to create The National Tour of Tim Peake’s Spacecraft and Space Descent VR. The Soyuz spacecraft is now on public display and will be going across the length and breadth of the British Isles, enhanced by Space Descent VR – a unique virtual reality adventure using Samsung Gear VR technology which places visitors right at the heart of Tim Peake’s journey from the International Space Station back to Earth.

The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford is the first stop on this inspirational journey, as the Soyuz is now on display until Sunday 19 November, before landing in Locomotion, Shildon, National Railway Museum, York, Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, National Museum Scotland, Edinburgh, National Museum Wales, Cardiff  and National Museum Ulster, Belfast.

It’s the first time that a Science Museum Group object has ever undertaken such a comprehensive tour of the UK, and the venture has a unique twist as one more tour venue will be chosen via a public competition.

Any venue interested in being the sixth venue of the tour, in autumn 2018, can apply via an online competition form at group.sciencemuseum.org.uk. The deadline for entries is 1 December 2017, and the winner will be announced in March 2018, after consideration by a panel including Science Museum Group Director Ian Blatchford, the UK Space Agency’s Human Spaceflight Manager Libby Jackson, Samsung’s Russell Taylor and Magali Vaissiere, Director of the European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications.

Tim Peake said at the launch  “It is wonderful to be in Bradford for the start of another incredible journey for this spacecraft, which took me on a life-changing journey and delivered me safely back to Earth. I’m particularly happy that people up and down the UK now have the opportunity to discover more about my Principia mission and space travel, and that the Science Museum Group – with the support of Samsung – are doing so much to inspire the public and schools in this tour. I’d also urge anyone who wishes to see the capsule land near them to contact their local venues to apply to be the sixth destination.”

Russell Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer of Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland, said: “Samsung has always had a passion for sparking curiosity and lifelong learning in everyone. Most of us have dreamed of going into space and it is our mission to bring that possibility to life. This national tour not only lets people see the Soyuz capsule up close, but the Space Descent VR gives them the most realistic experience there is.”

Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group, said: “This is the first time the Science Museum Group has toured one of its objects around the country, and what better object than the craft that brought Tim Peake safely back from space? I’m particularly pleased that this tour will reach every one of our museums between London and County Durham to inspire visitors of all ages to engage with the science of space exploration.”

Launching during the UK-Russia Year of Science and Education, The National Tour of Tim Peake’s Spacecraft celebrates the truly global effort behind modern space exploration. Manufactured by RSC Energiafor ROSCOSMOS the Russian Space Agency, the Soyuz tells the story of the UK’s first European Space Agency astronaut’s journey to the International Space Station.

■ Tim Peake trying out Space Descent VR on Samsung Gear VR headset. Image © National Science and Media Museum / Jody Hartley

It was acquired for the nation by the Science Museum Group in December 2016 and is the first flown human rated spacecraft in the UK’s national space technology collection. Space Descent VR, the stunning virtual reality journey voiced by Tim Peake himself, will accompany the touring exhibition and enable people all over the UK to experience in first-person the high-speed descent to Earth from the International Space Station.

Tim Peake’s spacecraft – complete with its 25-metre parachute – is free to visit at all venues, and Space Descent VR with Tim Peake will be available to visitors aged 13 and over for £5/£6. The tour will be accompanied by an outreach programme to engage young people in schools with potential futures in STEM subjects.

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