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By Kate Campbell-Payne on

Heroes at the museum Pt. 1: Tim Peake

When Major Tim Peake blasted off into space in December 2015, he took the nation with him.

Tim became the first Briton in space to be funded by the country, and after his fantastic flight, a six-month stay on the International Space Station (ISS), and a successful return home, he now stands as an inspiration to all of us he left here on Earth.

On Saturday 15 October, as part of a nationwide tour, he visited us here at the Museum of Science and Industry to take part in a Manchester Science Festival Family Trailblazer event, attended by 200 lucky ticket winners (though it was also live streamed to audiences on the Manchester Evening News website) and you can watch again, here:

For the event, Tim was interviewed by Newsround presenters Ricky and Leah Boleto. He began with an in-depth look at his time in space using some of the incredible photographs he and his colleagues took in space – everything from Antarctica to the toilets on the ISS. He also spoke about his first spacewalk, something that nearly didn’t happen as a supply ship carrying his space suit had blown up on its way to the ISS. Fortunately he made it, and he told us that dropping out of the airlock and into the darkness of space was the most amazing moment of his whole journey.

Ricky and Leah then asked for questions from the kids in the audience, and plenty of hands shot up. Daniel, aged 11, asked if they received TV on the ISS, and according to Tim, they did but only one channel and that was usually the news (though he did persuade his colleagues to change it when the Six Nations was on).

Picture of Tim Peake signing autographs at the Museum of Science and Industry
Science Museum Group © The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum


Another attendee, Logan, asked for some inspiring words for anyone who wants to be an astronaut. Tim replied that the most important thing is to have fun, enjoy yourselves and find out what it is that you really want to do. He encouraged them to find out what really drives them and that’s what they’ll be good at, whether that’s being an astronaut, a school teacher, an engineer, or something in art or drama.

One of the final questions came from a little girl in the audience who simply wanted to know when he was going back to space – ‘I’m asking the same question at the moment!’ said Tim, going on to tell us some of the exciting work that he’d love to get involved with. It was clear that he’s very eager to get back in his flight suit!

All of the young people in the audience asked brilliant questions, and it was a shame we couldn’t get round to all of them. However, time waits for no one – not even astronauts – and all too soon Tim had to leave for another event at Media City.

It was an honour to have him at the museum, and to have such a fantastic audience. Tim has to be the ‘nicest man in space’, and he makes a great ambassador for both the British Space Agency and for space exploration in general. It was a great morning, full of humour, inspiration, and more than a few young people (plus some older people too) will have walked away with dreams of being an astronaut buzzing around their heads.

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