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The Soyuz TMA-13 Reentry Module that returned Charles Simonyi to Earth from the International Space Station. Credit: Space Adventures

Seattle’s Museum of Flight lost out in the competition to exhibit a Space Shuttle orbiter, but it turns out it will be getting a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to display.

Charles Simonyi after landing in the Soyuz module in 2009. Credit: Space Adventures

Charles Simonyi, the former Microsoft executive who twice traveled to space as a tourist, will be contributing a Soyuz TMA-13 Reentry Module for the museum to display on long-term loan. It’s the same module that carried Simonyi back from the International Space Station in April 2009.

The news is being announced this morning at the dedication of the museum’s Charles Simonyi Space Gallery — the new name for the $12 million facility where the museum will display both the Soyuz spacecraft and the Full Fuselage Trainer wingless Space Shuttle orbiter mockup that the Museum of Flight has been awarded by NASA. Simonyi is also a major financial contributor the Space Gallery project.

Museum representatives say the Soyuz should be there in time for the arrival of the Full Fuselage Trainer in June.

GeekWire is at the Museum of Flight for the event this morning, and we’ll have more later today. A public Space Gallery exhibit preview runs this Saturday Dec. 10, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Here’s a fact sheet about the Soyuz Reentry Module from the Museum of Flight.

  • The Reentry Module will be on long-term loan at The Museum of Flight
  • Used for launch and the journey back to Earth
  • The return to Earth takes less than 3.5 hours from the International Space Station
  • Wastes from the ISS are packed into the unprotected living compartment and burned up in the atmosphere during descent
  • Has a heat-resistant covering for protection upon reentry
  • The main parachute slows the Soyuz to a descent rate of 33 feet per second
  • Solid-fuel braking engines are fired one meter above the ground for a softer landing
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