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Helen Sharman

Helen Sharman, the first Briton in space, reflects on her mission to the Mir space station 25 years ago. Book tickets to join Helen in the IMAX Theatre on Saturday 21 May where she will be celebrating her anniversary. You can also visit Helen’s website here. Space missions capture the imagination. They turn people on to science. They broaden our horizons too. I can hardly believe that it has been 25 years since I played my small part in this great adventure, the next phase […]

Drawing by Tsiolkovksy for the film ‘Cosmic Voyage’ showing a cosmonaut exiting a rocket via an airlock, 1932. Credit: Archive of Russian Academy of Science

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 […]

SOKOL space suit worn by Helen Sharman in 1991, manufactured by 'Zvezda'.

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 […]

By Pete Dickinson, Head of Communication, Science Museum 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 […]

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. Credit: Archive of Russian Academy of Sciences

Look closely at this picture from the Russian module of the International Space Station and you will see two images of a man with a white beard. Known as the grandfather of Soviet space travel, this man dreamt of international space stations as early as the 1890s and cosmonauts still pay homage to him today. Born on this day (17 September) in 1857, the man’s name is Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. Tsiolkovsky’s contribution to the science of space travel is diverse and […]

By a guest author

The First Spacewalk

Julia Tcharfas, Curatorial Assistant for the upcoming Cosmonauts exhibition, celebrates Alexei Leonov’s 80th birthday.

Julia Tcharfas, Curatorial Assistant for our upcoming Cosmonauts exhibition, reflects on over fifty years of manned space flight.