Skip to content

Peterborough: A spaceman came travelling ... crowds pour in for cathedral's capsule show

Visitor figures at Peterborough Cathedral this summer have been out of this world since Tim Peake’s Soyuz TMA-19M space capsule has been on display, with 60,000 coming through the doors – an increase of 600%.

The capsule which brought the British astronaut back to earth has been part of a free exhibition, launched by Peake himself, since 11 August, and which will run until 5 November.

The parachute which carried the Soyuz safely back to earth is also on display along with the astronaut’s space suit, and there is a virtual reality experience which allows visitors to experience the thrill of the capsule’s descent.

The Soyuz TMA-19M capsule, complete with equipped interior and char marks on its outer body from its re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, is on show along with its 25m diameter parachute and Tim Peake’s own Sokol KV-2 emergency spacesuit as part of a national tour presented by the Science Museum Group and global technology innovators Samsung.

Peterborough Cathedral won a national competition to be the sixth venue on the tour, during which the spacecraft travels to eight cities across the UK. It is the only non-museum venue on the tour and celebrates its 900th anniversary in 2018.

The ancient building took 120 years to construct using the state-of-the-art technology of its day. It is also home to a memorial to one of the most prolific and respected amateur comet and nova hunters of all time, Peterborough-based George Alcock MBE.

Soyuz (pictured elsewhere on the tour).
Photo: Matt Brown, Flickr

The display of the iconic craft will be accompanied by Space Descent VR, presented by the Science Museum Group and supported by Samsung – a unique virtual reality adventure using Samsung Gear VR technology. Narrated by Tim Peake himself, Space Descent VR recreates the experience of making the incredible 250-mile journey back down to Earth from the International Space Station inside a Soyuz capsule.

The Cathedral will present a programme of space-themed activities during the exhibition, including a holiday club entitled Be an Astronaut for a Day and a StarDome presented by Leicester’s National Space Centre. Museum of the Moon, a touring artwork by Luke Jerram, will also be on display during the Spacecraft’s showing, presented as part of Vivacity’s 'Without Walls' programme from 5–14 October.

Visitor times:
More about the exhibition:

Get more inspiring reading

To find back issues of the INSPIRE mini-mag - seasonal and themed issues - go to