back to article MPs call for British manned space flight

MPs have called on the government to give the lead to the UK's space industry and expand its vision to include funding launches and even manned spaceflight. The Science and Technology Select Committee, in a report amusingly entitled Space 2007: A Space Policy, says: "We have been impressed and often surprised during the course …


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  1. RainForestGuppy

    The Final Frontier?????

    Top Gear had a good attempt of turning a Robin Reliant into a Space Shuttle.

    Put James May and Richard Hammond in charge of a UK Space Agency.

  2. David Farndon

    one giant leap for the spending spree

    Excuse my addition, but it seems to me that the Americans (et al) have spent so many billions on making huge great fireworks (now .. stand just there Mr President and when we light that big bit of blue paper at the bottom tell us as fast as you can if that little lot going off might add to global warming .. no .. no .. it's fine, you hold the microphone .. we'll be WAAAAY over there).

    Wasn't there some brilliant British megasonic sub-orbital concorde replacement thingy which was scrapped after (no doubt) countless millions were spent (London to Sydney in 2 hours or something). The UK's reputation in keeping a grip on the 'big project' spending - Dome, Olympics, etc.,??.. if an estimate was 10 billion, you can bet your chips that it would cost 50 by the time it was scrapped in favour of a ready built thing out of a Skoda plant somewhere.

    Of course .. I'd be the first in the queue if you could get to the moon for a week for me and the family for a grand, leaving a carbon-neutral footprint in our wake (and get safely back .. naturally). But it won't happen for the normal folks until they invent the Starship Enterprise technology .. so I shalln't start saving just yet.

  3. Nick Pettefar

    Twit! Also ESA

    Reliant Robin! There was never a car company called Robin.

    We are already a member of ESA. Are they proposing we increase our contributions or go it alone?

  4. Dillon Pyron


    Actually, you Brits should build an L5 colony. Read O'Neill's "The High Frontier" (as opposed to the SDI book by the same name). It shouldn't cost more than the UK's GDP. I'd move there. Except that I'll be long dead before that happens.

  5. Ash

    My two pennies worth...

    Is it just me, or can the whole of the world think of much more worthwhile projects this money could be spent on?

    NHS funding?

    Better policing of our country?

    Rectifying the horrible mess that's been made of state pensions?

    Hell, ending Third World povety? (I know it's a small drop in a very large ocean, but with the rain we've been getting it's hard to notice how much one drop can affect things).

    Fix this planet before you go looking for other ones to f*ck up.


  6. red floyd

    Importing Aliens

    Well, I guess that would work, since they already did space travel to get here :-)

  7. Mike Richards Silver badge

    More spending

    More investment in boosters, reusable systems and greater reliability - absolutely. more funding for Earth observation - yes. More space science - that'd be nice.

    Spending huge amounts of money on an elitist team of highly-qualified yet psychologically flawed individuals capable of performing no useful work in a hostile environment? Absolutely not, we already have a Cabinet for that purpose.

  8. Graham Marsden

    Remember the dinosaurs?


    > Fix this planet before you go looking for other ones to f*ck up.

    Whether it was a meteor or volcanoes or whatever, *something* wiped out the dinosaurs.

    It is a statistical certainty that *something* will happen again in the future.

    If all of Humanity's eggs are in one basket (ie one planet), it won't matter how well "fixed" the place might have been, because nobody's going to be left to notice.

  9. sean

    @ ash


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  11. Glen


    The UK already has an L5 colony.

    Its called Canada :)

  12. Marco

    Re: More spending

    Mr. Richards, your comment about individuals in hostile environments amused me immensely.

  13. Will Leamon

    Dear Ash

    Did you ever stop to wonder if maybe all the answers to your hippy dreams might be found out there?

    Or better yet we could place you on your very own planet where you can tell everyone what to do to your hearts content. Just not here please.

  14. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Re: Re: More spending

    I'll second that !

  15. A J Stiles


    I believe the phrase you are looking for is "STAFFED" space flight.

    As for the "Robin Reliant" ..... they should have used a Transit Ford!

  16. dburr

    Pipe dreams

    Sounds like they've been watching too much Red Dwarf or even that godawful Hyperdrive

  17. Steve

    Ash. This is exactly why I don't recycle

    In order to get space travel cracked (which is, as has been pointed out, essential for the survival of humans and whatever species turn out to be handy for terraforming), I have developed a policy of not recycling and in fact spewing as much crap into the environment as is humanly possible.

    It's only when we finaly manage to FUBAR this planet by our activities that stupid hippies will finaly get the point, and realise that since they don't want to die suffocating in the vast toxic wasteland of polythene bags we will create, they actually quite like the idea of space exploration.

    "Poison The Earth, Live In Space" is my new motto, and I encourage others to take up the cry.

    Unfortunately, I am ~2000 trees to the credit in my carbon footprint, due to some planting work I did earlier this year in a rare foray away from the keyboard (really true, and more than you've done, you lazy hippy ;-), so I'm looking to offset this with some serious intercontinental travel later.

    Maybe someone could set up a different kind of offseting scheme, you know, "Been environmentally friendly this year? Send us five pounds and we'll bury 6000 Tesco carrier bags in a lake", that would do the trick.

    Poison The Earth, Live In Space, you know it makes sense.

  18. Chris

    Sort out all of Earths problems? What the heck? Give the UK a frontier!

    The UK seriously needs to end the ban on British astronauts. Helen Sharman was bankrolled by the Soviets, Michael Foale had to seek US citizenship status before he could fly on the the NASA STS system. This is a shameful state of affairs. We need a UK launcher system and a regulatory framework that will actively promote manned space flight.

    To those that say that spending money on spaceflight is a waste of time let me remind you that it was the overview image of a blue and white Earth delivered by the Apollo 8 mission that largely created the mass psychology behind the modern environmental movement. Without spaceflight, we would not even have an awareness of man made environmental damage or impact.

    Space activity consumes less than 1% of the US federal budget. In the UK we spend even less. Diverting such miniscule amounts to environmental causes and poverty alleviation will not solve the worlds problems. You can't create Utopia by imposing a travel ban people - and that's all the space travel is - just another form of human movement. Do you solve all the problems in your home town before enjoying a holiday in Europe or Asia? No? Then why ask the same of other forms of travel? The argument is completely absurd.

    The UK must follow other Nations into space. We need to give our young people hope and opportunity instead of the endless reminders of the shames of Empire. There is enough platinum grade material in the asteroid belt to provide the UK with 10,000 years of cheap metal. A new industrial revolution is underway and yet again UK plc will miss out on the opportunity of the millenium due to a flat earth mentality.

    Lets get rid of the tiny British National Space Centre and create a UK Space agency that is properly funded!

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