Take the Space Race Journey - three floors of discovery
Start your journey and encounter real rockets, sit back in the Edwardian cinema to see the first sci-fi movie ever made or even blast off into space with the ultimate water rocket challenge.
Leaving Earth (1942-62)
Become Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space as you sit inside the Vostok Capsule and blast off into space. Take a seat to discover the Russian firsts, see a dog spacesuit and look up for the first manmade object in space, Sputnik.
Destination Moon (1962-75)
Join Neil and Buzz as Apollo 11 lands on the moon. Along with the last piece of genuine moon rock to be returned to Earth challenge yourself to pilot the “Eagle” onto the lunar surface.
As you approach the National Space Centre from any route into the City you will catch glimpses of the 42 metre high Rocket Tower.
The iconic Rocket Tower at the National Space Centre is home to Blue Streak and Thor Able rockets, as well as the Gagarin Experience, Apollo Lunar Lander and real Moon Rock.
The semi-transparent tower, which is clad in high-tech ETFE “pillows”, was designed specially to house the Centre’s largest artefacts, including the Blue Streak and Thor Able Rockets.
Not only have we refurbished our rocket tower with the amazing 'Space Race' but we have also given Thor Able a bit of a boost!
I always know I’m in Leicester when I can see the National Space Centre’s Rocket Tower. The children compete to see it first. It is the start of our day out and gets us excited all over again.
Take a tour of the Rocket Tower
Blue Streak was first designed in the 1950s to be a missile, but in the 1960s it was adapted to be used as the first stage of Europe’s first satellite launcher programme, Europa. It was launched for the first time in Australia in 1964, with 11 subsequent launches, all successfully. The Blue Streak rocket on display at the National Space Centre was the last one of 15 to be made and is on loan from World Museum Liverpool.
There are two pieces of Moon rock on public display in the UK and you can see the larger of the two at the National Space Centre. There is less than 1,000kg of Moon rock on earth, which makes this small artefact one of the most precious items you will ever see.
This Lunar sample was collected by Apollo 17 Astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, from a large fractured boulder near the rim of Shorty Crater.