The National Space Centre is a
visitor attraction dedicated to space and is located in Leicester,
England, UK. It contains interactive exhibitions, some of
Britain's largest rockets and satellites, a planetarium and the
Challenger Learning Centre.
The National Space
Centre hosts many exciting weekend events including lots of school
holiday specials. It is run as an educational charity and offers
science workshops for school children of all ages.
How to get to the National Space Centre?
Car Travel: If your driving from London, it is located off
the M1. If you are an international visitor, it is located about
45 minutes drive from Birmingham International Airport. It is off
the A6 about two miles north of Leicester City Centre.
You can travel there by train. Midland Mainline and Central Trains
serve Leicester station then Bus route 54.
When you are in Leicester city at Leicester Station, City Centre,
use the St Margarets Bus Station on bus route 54 serves.
The centre has six main galleries:
1. Into Space: Covers most space hardware, from the
rockets that take probes and humans into space, to the specially
packaged food humans can eat during their stay. The gallery also
includes a life-size mock-up of the European Space Agency's
International Space Station Columbus module.
2. Exploring The Universe: Covers some interesting topics
ranging from black holes to the age of the universe.
3. The Planets Gallery: Covers everything in our Solar
System. It houses a real piece of Moon rock, brought back by the
astronauts of the Apollo 17 mission and a sizable Martian
4. Orbiting Earth: Tells the story of how humans use
satellites to improve their daily lives from telecommunication to
forecasting the weather.
5. Space Now: Live gallery that brings visitors
"today's news from space". The gallery hosts live demonstrations
and the news desk provides visitors with an opportunity to ask any
space-related questions that puzzle them. The gallery is
accompanied by Space Now, a space news website.
6. Tranquillity Base: Allows visitors to experience what it
would be like to live in a lunar base in the year 2025. Visitors
train as astronauts working for the All Earth Space Agency (AESA).
Worth Viewing: The Blue Streak rocket (18.5m long) was built in
the 1950's as a ballistic missile before being used as a satellite
launcher in the 1960's. The Centre also has on display a Soyuz
spacecraft. There is also the Space Theatre: an immersive digital
theatre and planetarium-style based on Digistar 3 technology.
The National Space Centre hosts the
UK Government's official Near-Earth object (NEO) Information
Centre. An exhibition about NEOs can be found in the centre's The
Planets gallery, with sister exhibitions in the Natural History
Museum in London, and Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.
When you visit the centre, get
yourself a souvenir by checking out their gift shop called Cargo
Bay which has a range of goodies. Also enjoy your lunch in the
restaurant at the base of the Rocket Tower known as Boosters.
The National Space Centre is the
brain child of the University of Leicester. The University,
Leicester City Council and Chamber of Commerce submitted a bid to
the Millennium Commission for funds in 1997. The Millennium
Commission agreed to support the project as its Landmark
Millennium Project for the East Midlands.
The building was designed by Nicholas Grimshaw and was opened to
the public on 30 June 2001. The total construction cost was £52m,
£26m of which came from a Millennium Commission grant and the rest
from private sector sponsors.
Buzz Aldrin (second man to walk on
the Moon) visited the Space Centre in June 2005. Tranquillity Base
was opened in July 2005. The first Star Wars Day was held on 30
For Further information:
National Space Centre
Telephone: 0044 (0)8706 077 223 Information hotline
Fax: +44 (0)1162 582 100
It is closed on Mondays, except for
Mondays which are bank holidays or in school holidays.
During School Term: Tuesday to Sunday 10.00am - 5.00pm. (last
During School Holidays: Monday to Sunday 10.00am - 5.00pm. (last
Closed: 24th, 25th Dec and 1st January.
See official website below for current admission charges.
* The Beagle 2 Mars spacecraft was
controlled from the centre's Landing Operations Control Centre.
National Space Centre Links
Space Centre: Official site of the attraction. Includes
lots of photos, info on events.
Millennium Commission - Projects National Space Centre: Info
and source of photo (30 Aug 2007)
Leicester Virtual Tours - National Space Centre tour: by BBC