British astronaut Tim Peake has been reunited with the capsule that brought him through a “punishing” re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere after six months aboard the International Space Station.
Major Peake, 46, was at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, where the spacesuit he wore on the high-speed journey back is also on display.
Those going to view the capsule will be able to see the scorch marks from its eight-minute re-entry in June 2016, when temperatures reached 1,500C (2,732F), prior to it landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan.
While in space, the married father-of-two took part in more than 250 scientific experiments, ran the London marathon, and undertook a spacewalk to repair the station’s power supply, which was the “most special” part of the mission.
“To actually go outside the space station was an incredible feeling, in a space suit just looking down on Earth,” he said.
Major Peake said that seeing the capsule “brings back huge memories of the re-entry and how punishing that was”.
The “return journey is a dynamic event; there’s an awful lot happens in this spacecraft”, he added.
In addition to re-entry, the capsule’s parachute has to open and then there is the landing to negotiate.
“It’s a very complex part of the mission,” Major Peake explained.
During a question and answer session with pupils from Dunipace Primary School in Falkirk, he described how he and the crew watched Star Wars in space and said there were a keyboard and guitar on board.
Major Peake, from West Sussex, hopes to return to space, saying that his group of astronauts is expected to go to the International Space Station at least twice.
The capsule, which was acquired by the Science Museum Group in 2016, is going on a UK tour.
It is on display in Edinburgh until 4 August.