Peterborough Cathedral has won a nationwide competition to host Tim Peake’s Soyuz spacecraft this summer in the year the cathedral celebrates its 900th anniversary.
The famous spacecraft and a Space Descent VR experience will be at the cathedral from Saturday August 11 until Monday November 5.
The Cathedral was chosen by the Science Museum Group from a shortlist of five venues across the country, including Millennium Point in Birmingham and The Forum in Norwich. The venues entered an open competition last year to win the opportunity to be the sixth location on the spacecraft’s national tour.
Soyuz TMA-19M was used by Tim Peake for his Principia mission in 2015-2016, while the Space Descent VR, which accompanies it in the exhibition, is a unique virtual reality adventure that brings the experience alive using Samsung Gear VR technology. It is expected that Tim Peake’ own spacesuit will also be part of the display, as well as the parachute used in the spacecraft’s return to earth.
Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group, said: “It is rare to see the star objects in Britain’s great museum collections touring the length and breadth of the country. It is even rarer to see a spacecraft in a Cathedral. I am extremely pleased that thousands of people from all around the diocese of Peterborough will have the chance to see this extraordinary artefact of recent space history on their doorstep, and I cannot wait to see the Soyuz take the Cathedral’s 900th birthday celebrations out of this world when it arrives in August.”
The announcement was made at the launch of the Soyuz exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. The Dean of Peterborough, the Very Revd Chris Dalliston, who attended the Manchester event with colleagues from the Cathedral, said:
“I’m absolutely delighted that we shall be hosting the Soyuz spacecraft in Peterborough, especially in the year we celebrate the Cathedral’s 900th anniversary.
“Throughout the centuries, science and religion have been connected by a shared delight in the created world, a sense of wonder about its origins and destiny, and a desire to seek for the mechanisms and the meaning behind our universe. We hope that many who come to see the Soyuz in our wonderful and ancient Cathedral will begin to get answers to both those questions, and delight in the astonishing inventiveness of humanity and the extraordinary creativity of God.”
Soyuz will be displayed in the north transept and aisle inside the Cathedral. Services and events will carry on as usual during the exhibition, providing an added attraction to the existing programme.
Photos: Science Museum Group