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Thousands flock to Bradford to be one small step closer to space travel

Major Tim Peake, British astronaut, speaking at the University of York on September 26.

by Roseann Hughes

THE SPACECRAFT used by British astronaut Tim Peake is part of a free exhibition at Bradford’s Science and Media Museum until November 19.

Visitors and school groups can have a close encounter with the descent module that safely brought Tim Peake back to earth after six months on the International Space Station.

A spokesman from the Science and Media Museum in Bradford said it is proving a very popular attraction.

He said: “We welcomed more than 7,000 visitors for the first weekend.

“It’s an incredible object, and we provide lots of additional information about its journey, along with space-themed weekend activities.

“As well as seeing the Soyuz craft and its huge parachute, visitors can also experience the journey themselves in our Space Descent VR lounge, created by Samsung, which is probably the closest most of us will get to space travel.”

Naomi Miller, 28, from Bath, visited the spacecraft and said it was surprisingly small.

She said: “It felt a bit claustrophobic even from the outside – it looks so fragile and yet has so much expertise. Great to see it from so many angles as you climb to different galleries.”

Two weeks ago, Tim Peake visited York and wowed an audience of 1,000 people with stories of his space adventure. He said he had a lot of love for his “tiny descent module” which protected him and two other astronauts when they re-entered the earth’s atmosphere.

He said: “We were like a falling brick! It can get up to 1500°C hot on the outside – looking out of the window was quite the firework display.

“It was 20 seconds of the craziest roller coaster of your life.”

The children in the audience had the opportunity to ask the spaceman some questions. One asked a very important question: “Did you get pudding?”

Tim said: “I actually lost weight so I was put on double pudding intake. We had chocolate cake and treacle tart.”

Tim also had a prediction for the next stage in space travel.

He said: “A crewed ship to Mars is just around the corner – by 2021.”

He added it would be a three year mission, so there needs to be better propulsion systems and better protection against radiation. He said: “At the moment it’s like getting eight chest x-rays a day.”

But he’s confident that international partnerships will bring the red planet within our reach.

“By the late 2030s we’ll have our first feet on Mars.”

What do you think?