National Space Centre 2


There's a dramatic view of Soyuz - it greets you as you arrive:-
Soyuz
.Soyuz
Soyuz - longest serving manned spacecraft in the World
Docking module - Living area - Re-entry module -Service module
The exhibit is claimed to be the most complete example of Soyuz on display in the West. This comment may relate to the larger docking section than seen previously, and probably to the solar array as well. Docking of Soyuz with the U.S. Apollo spacecraft in 1975 was one of the most memorable memorable historic flights.

On arrival, your entrance ticket has a timed entry to the Space Theatre, which is excellent, with Planetarium-style projection onto a domed screen.

Other displays flesh out the background to Space exploration. Two that we singled out are, left, below, one which highlights the function of satellites for weather forecasting by inviting you to enter a live studio and give a weather forecast (tip: watch others try it first, then stand to the left as you see your Webmaster doing!) and, right, below, gravity effects on living plants:-

...and your forecaster today is...
Growing space food
In "Growing space food", grass is (a) whirled horizontally - the roots respond by growing outwards; (b) the lower ball of grass spins, (simulating in effect, zero gravity) and the roots grow in all directions. Overcoming the effect that roots grow in the direction of what they think is gravity, has to be achieved for a long space journey. Hopefully, Astronauts bravely making for Mars will enjoy better fresh food than grass of course!

We thought that a display relating to Yuri Gagarin should have noted that there is strong evidence that the first man in space was actually Sergei Vladimir Ilyushin, son of the famous aircraft designer. Unlike Gagarin in two respects; his flight was rough and therefore not reported - Gagarin flew 5 days later - and at 72 he still flies, even, apparently, as a test pilot. Ilyushin was regarded as a hot shot in the mould of Chuck Yeager in his younger days.


Finally, outside you will see what appears to be  - couldn't see a description - a Space Shuttle pallet section. Behind is the Abbey Pumping Station, now also a museum exhibit itself.
Tip: Easily accessible by car; short taxi ride from rail station, no sign of bus service. Disabled access seems good to judge by the number of wheelchair visitors. One I spoke to said she was enjoying the Space Centre.

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