Last week, we announced some very exciting news… that the Sokol KV-2 emergency space suit worn by ESA astronaut Tim Peake during his Principia mission to the International Space Station (ISS) is to go on long-term display at the National Space Centre in Leicester. Tim himself said: ‘From next summer it will take pride of place in the Space Centre’s new exhibit charting an astronaut’s journey from training through to their mission launch, time in space and return to earth.’
Now you can see Tim’s spacesuit in a brand-new permanent exhibition launched this year at the National Space Centre highlighting launching, living and working in space. Tim’s suit will stand alongside garments worn by Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, UK Born NASA astronaut Piers Sellers and even the EVA suit worn by Matt Damon in the movie The Martian.
Tim’s Sokol KV-2 emergency suit joined the Science Museum Group earlier this year with the support of the UK Space Agency and the National Space Centre, and has since been touring the country alongside the hugely successful UK tour of Tim Peake’s spacecraft that took it all the way to the International Space Station and back.
If you’ve visited the Soyuz TMA-19M capsule on its tour, presented in partnership with global technology innovators Samsung, you’ll have noticed that there is very little room inside for the three astronauts that occupy it – barely enough to sit, and no space to stand upright. This also means that a Soyuz spacesuit needs to be made to fit exactly to the astronaut’s size and shape so that it’s airtight and restrictive in movement – this is why they often seem too small and appear hunched.
As Tim explained, ‘The Sokol’s shape is contoured for sitting in the Soyuz couch in a foetal sitting position, and this shaping of the suit makes it impossible to stand upright and causes the ‘cosmonaut stoop’ as we walk out to the rocket’.
Hear more about the spacesuit from Tim himself in this video:
Find out more about Tim Peake’s Spacecraft tour here.