On one very special evening at the Hall, real life spacemen Tim Peake and Tim Kopra were invited to the stage to talk about their experience of six months in space.

For nearly two hours on 19 October 2016 the astronauts talked a rapt audience through their time on the International Space Station (aided by awe-inspiring photos), including how it felt to take-off, live for six months in space, and their landing back on Earth, before taking questions from TV science presenter Dallas Campbell and members of the audience.

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The Hall was packed with space enthusiasts young and old, eager for this once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Tim Peake, the first British European Space Agency astronaut, who spent over 6 months on board the International Space Station from 15 December 2015 – 18 June 2016, with NASA crewmate US astronaut Tim Kopra.

Just four months after touching down on Earth, both were visiting the Hall as part of the Principia UK post-flight ‘Science in Space’ tour.

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The evening began with a look back to the moment Tim and Tim were first launched into space as part of the Principia Mission, an event that was watched live by over 15,000 people at events held across the UK.

Playing a recording of the launch with commentary from the astronauts themselves, the audience were given a unique insight into the overwhelming, all-encompassing sound of a take-off. The sound engulfed the hall, and it almost felt as if the Hall might take off!

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Children in the audience were given the opportunity to ask Tim and Tim their own questions, about their experiences: ‘Did you see any aliens?’ ‘Did you ever feel scared of heights?’

On stage throughout the evening, alongside Tim, Tim and Dallas, sat ‘Bridget’ the original rover that Tim Peake remotely controlled from the International Space Station to perform challenging experiments on Earth in April 2016.

This remarkable robot provided a perfect selfie opportunity for keen audience members.


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The evening ending with a standing ovation for these two inspirational scientists.


All photos: © Andy Paradise