The Russian Soyuz spacecraft used by Tim Peake in his mission to the International Space Station is to go on display in London following its acquisition by the Science Museum.
The 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 outer surfaces have been charred by temperatures of around 1,500 degrees Celsius experienced during atmospheric re-entry. Contrary to popular imagination, the heat generated by reentry is not caused by friction as the spacecraft hits the atmosphere, but by how the impact compresses the air directly in front of the module. The air can’t move out of the way fast enough, and gets squished in front of the spaceship, and gets heated up.
Further details about the display of the Soyuz TMA-19M, which weighs approximately 1.5 tonnes will be released later.
The Science Museum’s existing spacecraft collection include a Black Knight Gamma 201 engine bay, the R4 Black Arrow launch vehicle (with Prospero satellite flight spare) and the Spacelab-2 X-ray telescope, flown on the Space Shuttle Challenger.
Recent acquisitions include the Jet-X telescope, a Eurostar 3000 satellite and an engineering model of the world’s first international satellite, Ariel 1. Significant loaned items include an Apollo fuel cell, J2 and RL-10 engines and the Apollo 10 command module.