The programme of events was developed by the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and Imperial College London as well as other partners from across the UK space sector.
The launch was broadcast live from the Science Museum with Professor Brian Cox and Dara Ó Briain presenting two special Stargazing live programmes covering the launch (with 5.8 million viewers tuning in during both programmes), docking and the first moments of Tim’s arrival on the International Space Station. Imperial College London’s resident cosmonaut and the first Briton in space, Dr Helen Sharman, recent ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen, cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first human to walk in space and Canada’s first astronaut to walk in space, Chris Hadfield, took part in live broadcasts, talks and debates at the Science Museum.
The launch event at the Science Museum was programmed all day for schools and families, with over 25 space related activities. Large screens in the Science Museum’s Energy Hall showed the live broadcast of Stargazing which included the launch at 11.02 with over 2,500 school children filling the Engine Hall with flags and cheering at the moment of blast off.
The Natural History Museum invited schools to celebrate the space launch with a themed day at the Museum promoting UK space science. Students were able to engage with cutting edge science, meet inspiring scientist role models and examine extraordinary collections from space.
The UK Space Agency, together with the European Space Agency and the Science Museum, hosted a special reception to celebrate the launch with over 715 people invited from the space industry, government, industry bodies and from the cultural and educational organisations in South Kensington.
During the day the screens in the Science Museum showed key moments of Tim’s journey as well as interviews with fellow astronauts, live docking footage and analysis and a glimpse of the Cosmonauts exhibition, providing a unique experience for visitors throughout the day. Feedback from the Science Museum event included:
The BBC’s Science Editor remarked the children: “… were louder than Peake’s Soyuz at full throttle”
Alexei Leonov, the first man to walk in space, said: “It reminded him of the joy shown in the Soviet Union when Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.”
Tim Peake mentioned the launch event in his first press conference from the International Space Station: “I saw the wonderful pictures from the Science Museum in London and I just through that was incredible, absolutely spectacular and phenomenal support”.
The evening celebration at the Science Museum featured over 50 space-themed activities from the Discover South Kensington organisations and partners of UK Space Agency, and was the largest public event at the Science Museum. Natural History Museum and Imperial College participated in the evening event and brought their artefacts, exhibits and scientists into the Science Museum.
Discover South Kensington and the Science Museum hosted Colleagues and contacts from across partner organisations to a VIP area of the evening event.
The 15th December 2015 was an unforgettable day of celebration, excitement, achievement and jubilation in South Kensington – the home of science, arts and inspiration.