Visitors to this summer’s Royal International Air Tattoo in the Cotswolds are set to experience its most astronomical year yet, with an array of exciting exhibits and aircraft for all the family to enjoy.

The three-day event (19-21 July) held annually at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing and to celebrate, the Air Tattoo will be turning its spotlight to the heavens to look at some of the exciting and innovative ways organisations are reaching out into space.

Giving his seal of approval to this year’s theme, Air & Space: Inspiring The Next Generation Air Force will be British astronaut Major Tim Peake who will be making an appearance at the airshow on Friday, July 19.

As part of the European Space Agency (ESA), Tim was the first British ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station, launching on a Soyuz rocket in December 2015 and returning to earth six months later having taken part in a variety of activities including conducting a spacewalk to repair the Station’s power supply.

He said: “I’ve been wanting to attend the Royal International Air Tattoo for some time and this year’s ‘Space’ theme presented the perfect opportunity. I’m really looking forward to it!”

Other star attractions include the critically-acclaimed Techno Zone®, which among other exciting exhibits, will host a planetarium show and a full-scale ExoMars rover prototype from Airbus Defence and Space, which visitors can witness drive across a simulated Martian surface.

Visitors can also see Starchaser Industries’ Nova 2 rocket which will be on static display for up-close viewing and space technology firm Skyrora’s The Black Arrow – the UK’s only rocket to successfully launch a satellite into orbit.

If that isn’t enough, visitors on the Friday will find themselves under the ‘microscope’ as Airbus DS’s Pleiades satellites flies over RAF Fairford taking a photo of the airshow as it orbits the earth.

Techno Zone® Coordinator Sandra Keen said: “The Techno Zone® never ceases to amaze visitors with its hands-on displays, but this year is set to be particularly awe-inspiring.

“It’s always a big attraction for youngsters and hopefully the unique exhibits will ignite a spark and inspire them to discover and learn more about air and space”.

RAF Fairford, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, was NASA’s only UK transatlantic abort landing site for the Space Shuttle and in 1983 hosted a visit by the spacecraft which was secured on the back of a jumbo jet bound for the Paris Air Show.

Tickets for the airshow, which is staged annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust, can be purchased online at or by calling 01285 713456. All accompanied under-18s go free.