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It seems like everyone’s talking about sending people to Mars. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has just found evidence of liquid water on Mars today, Ridley Scott’s The Martian is bringing the Red Planet to life in our cinemas and you can see a spacesuit designed for use on Mars in our Cosmonauts exhibition. There is hope that we’ll be sending people to Mars for real in the next few decades – but when they go, will they be ready for […]

Dr Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, today declared that she would like to join the director of the Science Museum on a space flight during the launch of the museum’s most ambitious exhibition ever, Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age. With the director, Ian Blatchford, and Dr Tereshkova was Sergei Krikalev a veteran of six space flights and eight space walks who, until very recently, held the record for the amount of time in space – 803 days, […]

On 20 July 1969, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world. Yesterday Buzz visited the Science Museum’s Cosmonauts exhibition, which opens to the public on the 18 September and has at its heart the 3.5 ton Lunniy Korabl (“lunar ship”) – or LK-3. The single cosmonaut moon lander was built by the USSR in the same year that Apollo 11 took Buzz into the history books and was moved to […]

The ideas that fuelled the birth of the space age dawned much longer ago than many realise. In their research for our Cosmonauts exhibition, Science Museum curators traced the origins of the first great leap into space by Yuri Gagarin in 1961 to events that took place well before the turn of the 20th century. Russian fascination with the cosmos first flickered into life in the 1880s with the appearance in print of the first translations of Western science fiction novels […]

For the last two years my job has been to work out how to transport rocket engines, gigantic spacecraft and 150 other incredible artefacts from Moscow to London and into the Cosmonauts exhibition. We are borrowing artefacts of all shapes and sizes – from small pencil drawings of early twentieth century rocket designs to Vostok 6, the full-size spacecraft that transported the first women into space in 1963 – from museums, private individuals and even the Russian Space Agency. We […]

During the preparations for our landmark exhibition, Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age, we reunited Britain’s first astronaut, Helen Sharman, with her spacesuit around a quarter of a century after she first wore it for her pioneering mission to the Mir space station. Helen’s journey began in 1989 when she, then a food technologist, answered an advertisement that she had heard on her car radio:  “Astronaut wanted. No experience necessary.” With Timothy Mace, she was eventually selected from over 13,000 […]

Half a century after he risked his life to become the first person to go on a spacewalk, Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov today joined Science Museum Director Ian Blatchford to announce the museum’s most ambitious temporary exhibition to date, Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age, supported by BP. Tickets are now on sale for the exhibition, which opens on 18 September 2015 and will feature the greatest collection of Soviet spacecraft and artefacts ever assembled in once place, including eight that had […]