National Space Centre

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National Space Centre
National Space Centre, Leicester
National Space Centre, Leicester.jpg
National Space Centre
National Space Centre is located in Leicestershire
National Space Centre
Location of National Space Centre in Leicester
Established 2001 (2001)
Location Belgrave, Leicester
Coordinates 52°39′16″N 1°07′57″W / 52.654313°N 1.132406°W / 52.654313; -1.132406
Type Space (and aerospace) museum
Website National Space Centre

The National Space Centre is one of the United Kingdom's leading visitor attractions that is devoted to space science and astronomy. It is located in the city of Leicester, England, next to the River Soar on the A6.


The building was designed by Nicholas Grimshaw, and it opened to the public on 30 June 2001.[citation needed] The tower is 42 m (138 ft) tall.[citation needed]

University of Leicester[edit]

The centre arose from a partnership between the University of Leicester's Space Research Centre and local government agencies.[citation needed] The total construction cost was £52m, £26m of which came from a Millennium Commission grant, and the rest from private sector sponsors.[citation needed] It is run as an educational charity, and offers science workshops for school children of all ages.[citation needed]

The National Space Centre currently has post-doctoral science researchers based at the University of Leicester's Space Research Centre (SRC) and the University of Nottingham's Institute of Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy (IESSG).[citation needed]

Main exhibits[edit]

The Soyuz 7K OK(A) Spacecraft on display

The Centre has on display one of the only known Soyuz spacecraft in Western Europe (there are two others in France at the Cité de l'espace and, in the United States, another Soyuz spacecraft is at the Smithsonian Institution as part of their Apollo-Soyuz Test Project display).[citation needed]

The Rocket Tower
Inside, Blue Streak and Thor (right)

The centre has six main galleries of exhibits and visitor activities covering space flight, astronomy and cosmology. The attraction also includes a Digistar 3 dome cinema and planetarium, a gift shop and a restaurant. The restaurant is situated beneath the two nozzles of the Blue Streak and PGM-17 Thor rockets.


Digital visualisation[edit]

The Centre's own digital visualisation team, NSC Creative, make all the "fulldome" planetarium shows shown at the Centre.[citation needed] At present, NSC Creative fulldome shows are playing in over 150 planetaria in 20 countries worldwide.[citation needed] These productions include the official International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) planetarium show "We are Astronomers" which was funded by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).[1]

Near Earth objects[edit]

Beagle 2

The failed Beagle 2 Mars spacecraft was controlled from the centre's Landing Operations Control Centre.[2] UK Government's official Near-Earth object (NEO) Information Centre[3] is also based at the centre.[4]


In 2007, the National Space Centre celebrated 50 Years in Space: the anniversary of the first satellite, Sputnik.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "We Are Astronomers". IYA2009. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  2. ^ Sims, Beagle 2 Mission Manager, M.R. (2004). "Beagle 2 Mars: Mission Report" (PDF). National Space Centre. 
  3. ^ "The Spaceguard Centre | The National Near Earth Objects Information Centre". Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  4. ^ Williams, Iwan P. (2006). "The UK Near Earth Object Information Centre (NEOIC)". International Astronomical Union, Proceedings IAU Symposium No. 236. 
  5. ^ Godsall, David (18 June 2015). "National Space Centre's Star Wars weekend blasts off". Loughborough Echo. Retrieved 20 July 2016. 

External links[edit]

Video clips[edit]