Will the UK government endorse human spaceflight?

The British government will decide by next October whether to establish a government human spaceflight program, Flight International reported this week. The British National Space Centre will assess the costs and benefits associated with having an astronaut corps, either as part of ESA’s astronaut corps or as a more direct relationship with NASA, like Canada and Japan. If the British government does decide to support human spaceflight, it won’t rush into it, incorporating the costs into its 2011-2014 spending plan rather than a 2008-2010 spending plan announced earlier this month.

(Update: the head of the RAF has weighed in and thinks a UK astronaut corps is a good idea in part as “a means of inspiring young people to join his service”.)

The irony in all this is that while the UK government doesn’t support human spaceflight, UK businesses do. Virgin Galactic is based in London and Starchaser, another company pursuing suborbital space tourism, is based near Manchester.

3 comments to Will the UK government endorse human spaceflight?

  • SleepingBrit

    Having finally woken up from the dreamland of Dr Who, the UK seems determined to wait for the season after next to appear. It seems that a few voices have finally reached Gordon Brown’s ear and he’s applying his primary tool of governance, financial control. Forget the UK, let them go back to sleep, they are of little consequence anymore.

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  • As a small UK based business focusing on space related toys and dressing up, we know there is the interest and enthusiasm for space exploration in the British population. Investment in space by the UK government should be prioritised – we can only hope that Virgin will kickstart business interest.

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