The Soyuz capsule which carried Major Tim Peake along with two other astronauts from the International Space Station on their return to earth has been traveling across the UK as part of a national tour.
When it landed at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, on the shores of Belfast Loch, Forces Radio BFBS Northern Ireland's Cherry Casey spoke to Hannah Crowdy of National Museums Northern Ireland who revealed some fascinating facts about the artefacts on display. Speaking about the charred markings on the capsule she said:
"... when it came through the atmosphere temperatures outside got up to about 1,500 degrees centigrade and I think that's just really part of its story that you can see that damage on it."
LISTEN: Cherry Casey chats to Hannah Crowdy at the Ulster Transport Museum
Upon graduation from The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Tim commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. He eventually became a qualified helicopter pilot and qualified helicopter instructor, graduating from CFS(H) at the Defence Helicopter Flying Scool at RAF Shawbury.
Tim left the British Army in 2009, with the rank of Major, after 17 years of service and with more than 3,000 flying hours to his credit, becoming a test pilot with Agusta Westland.
On December 15, 2015, Tim embarked on the Principia mission to the International Space Station.
He spent six months orbiting Earth during which he became a household name, as he broadcast live experiments, walked in space and even ran the London Marathon.
Now, thanks to the Science Museum Group, this historic spacecraft is touring the UK. The final stop on the National Tour is in Northern Ireland, where it will be on display at the Ulster Transport Museum until May 12. Hannah Crowdy said:
"The public response and interest, has been amazing. We've had 9,000 visitors in the first week of the capsule being on display."
Visitors can also experience, through virtual reality, what it is like to sit inside the 2m x 2m capsule, and recreates the thrill of that 400km descent back to earth. Hannah said:
"The capsule is small, and inside would be three grown men, along with all the equipment, for the descent that took over four hours."