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Friday, February 15, 2008

Britons in Space!


Black Arrow, one of the cooler looking rockets in history


Science Minister, Ian Pearson, has announced that Britain should get into manned spaceflight. This is the sort of thing that gets announced by ministers when they suddenly realise that no-one knows who they are so the decide to make some sort of tabloid-friendly announcement to get their name in the papers.


Britain led the world in rocketry after the war but parsimonious funding and lack of vision (co-incidentally by a Labour government) meant that the Black Arrow remains the only British built rocket to launch a spacecraft (the Prospero satellite in 1971). Britain remains the only country in the world to develop satellite launching capability and then abandon it. Considering Third World countries like India, Iraq, Iran, China and France can launch satellites that is a national disgrace!

Fifty seconds from destruction


Building a vehicle to launch a human is a far cry from launching a satellite, however. After all, the first Black Arrow had to be destroyed 50 seconds into its maiden flight and indeed two out out of the four launches resulted in failure. Not very good odds for our first astronauts. Given this, therefore, Agent Triple P would like to nominate some eminent Britons to take this giant, and potentially fatal, leap. As is traditional we will select seven for initial astronaut training.


Amy Winehouse. Very much first on my list.
Pete Doherty. Another completely pointless person.
Gordon Brown. And, indeed, anyone else who is Scottish.
Catherine Tate. Aren't comedians supposed to be funny?
Russell Brand. Ditto.
Victoria Beckham: She would save the need for a lot of rocket fuel.
Gordon Ramsay: I would very much like to see him fried. Or boiled.


Kaboom!

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