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Space Government News

UK Reconsiders 1986 Decision To Ban Astronauts 279

An anonymous reader writes "The British space agency, BNSC, is reconsidering its 1986 decision to reject all human space missions. The decision has dominated British space policy ever since, leaving Britain out of many American and European space projects. The UK is the only nation in the G8 group of leading economies that does not have a human space flight program. But space enthusiast groups like the British Interplanetary Society are trying to persuade the British government to participate in both manned and unmanned space activities."
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UK Reconsiders 1986 Decision To Ban Astronauts

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  • by sisko ( 114628 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:20PM (#22779330)
    David Lister.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:21PM (#22779336)
    Too many viewings of Doctor Who.
  • Tea (Score:4, Funny)

    by kernowyon ( 1257174 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:24PM (#22779350) Journal
    The real reason we Brits don't send people into space is because you simply cannot get a decent cup of tea there! Manufacturing Bowler Hats to fit over those helmets has proved rather tricky too.
  • by Fizzlewhiff ( 256410 ) <> on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:24PM (#22779354) Homepage
    They have too many hands in the British government.
  • Re:Tea (Score:4, Funny)

    by Daimanta ( 1140543 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:26PM (#22779370) Journal
    I guess the British will be the first to invent grav plating so they can have their daily cup of tea. Necessity breeds innovation.
  • by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:30PM (#22779386)
    How can Britain not have a astronaut program, when a country like Nigeria already has astronauts in space. I got an email from one of their astronauts describing the funds to get him back down were in an account that needed to be transferred out of Nigeria in order to gain access to it.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:34PM (#22779416)

    They have too many hands in the British government.
    Yeah. "Informative". What if "he" returns? Heh.
  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) * on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:36PM (#22779430) Homepage Journal
    Ban or no ban, they ain't drinkin' in this pub!

    All that bragging and dragging their heavy kit about. Not to mention the naf hissing sound from the pressure suits - and the smell. Did you ever?

    I think that the ban is good for Britain. Next, I think it's time to exclude those blokes who Google the answers to the pub quiz on their mobiles, under the tables.
  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) * on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:40PM (#22779454) Homepage Journal
    We're to busy coming up with the next "Reality Show" craze - and training amateur porn stars.
    But I repeat myself...
  • CCTV (Score:4, Funny)

    by RockMFR ( 1022315 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:41PM (#22779458)
    Maybe they're afraid that they won't be able to keep tabs on the astronauts in space? What's to prevent British astronauts from putting some duct tape over the cameras and engaging in terrorism?!
  • Re:Tea (Score:4, Funny)

    by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <aussie_bob&hotmail,com> on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:42PM (#22779470) Journal
    What explains the Indian Astronauts?


  • by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:44PM (#22779476)
    aggressive wikipeida vandalism is the only way to beat them. "what do you mean Tutankhamen wasn't the star striker when we won the world cup?!"
  • by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 ) <maxomai@ g m a i l . c om> on Monday March 17, 2008 @09:57PM (#22779556) Homepage
    I know you're worried about the risks of sending people into outer space and all that, but please do consider the following.

    (Holds up sack.)

    England, do you know what these are? Perhaps not. It's been a while, hasn't it. Let me explain: these, dear friends, are your balls. You had them for a while once, back when you were a colonial power, you had big titanium steel ones while you fought the Nazis, and you had pretty good sized ones when you kicked the crap out of Argentina. But ever since you stopped sending humans into space, they've been sitting quietly in a burlap sack, growing old, gathering dust, completely unused while you drink beer and make funny movies and wonder what the hell happened to the England that was.

    You know you want them back. You know you want to feel them again, along with the rush and thrill of going places where human beings just weren't designed to go. You know you want it, because that's where we've always gone as a species: where we're not supposed to.

    Go on England. Explore space again. Get your balls back.

    Until you do, I'll keep them in my lock box, along with the brains of the people who designed City of Heroes. They won't be needing those anytime soon, I assure you.

    Love, MAX.

  • We've had those for a long time. We call ourselves Americans - though the ones we send up are usually in peak physical condition and might not care much about guns - and we're very proud of our astronauts.

    So, who's going to make the crack about missing their vodka and finding orbit warmer than winters back home?

    Have we shot any cheese-eating bistro crawlers into space yet?
  • by femto ( 459605 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @10:06PM (#22779614) Homepage

    See hundreds of years ago the equivalent to space exploration was sending a ship around the world. The UK was a leader in this effort. In 1770 a guy called Cook discovered a place called Australia and in 1788 a colonising fleet was sent from the UK to this new world. The new colony succeeded beyond the UK's wildest dreams. It's inhabitants evolved into bronzed, suntanned titans, with physical and mental capabilities beyond anything the UK was remotely capable of. Worst of all they repeatedly whopped the UK at all sports. The final straw was when the Australian colony sent back this thing called Neighbours and destroyed the Queen's English, the foundation of the UK's national identity, culture and pride.

    The UK resolved "never again".


  • by Orleron ( 835910 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @10:19PM (#22779670) Homepage
    Why would they send a man back into space after what happened to Major Tom, and all?
  • Re:Tea (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @10:24PM (#22779694)

    I think we used to take tea breaks during battles too! Wonder how that would go down in iraq?

    You may have heard about the recent recipient of the Military Cross, Fusilier Damien Hields []. He fought off 150 Taliban fighters with a grenade machinegun. Unsurprisingly, his vehicle got a bit shot up in the process.

    Now, I'm not saying that tea is ingrained into the British psyche so to speak, but when struggling for a way to describe just how wrecked the vehicle was, his commanding officer had this to say:

    I was astonished at the state of his vehicle. There were so many holes in it, it was like a teabag.

    So yes, they might be in the thick of battle, but tea is never far from the mind.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @10:26PM (#22779710)
    • Career Counselor: What do you wanna do with your life? Tell me your dreams!"
    • Student: I wanna be an astronaut! And go into outer space and discover things that no one's ever discovered before!
    • Counselor: Look, you're British, so scale it down a bit.
    • Student: All right, then I wanna work in a shoestore! And discover shoes that no-one's ever discovered! Right at the back of the shop on the left ...
    • Counselor: Look, you're British, so scale it down a bit!
    • Student: All right, then I wanna work in a sewer. And discover sewage that no-one's ever discovered before. I'll pile it on my head, then come to the surface and sell myself to an art gallery.
    • Counselor: What the fuck have you been smoking, eh?

    - Eddie Izzard, Dress to Kill

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @10:32PM (#22779728) Journal
    Are you telling me Moonraker wasn't real??? []

    WHAT? But Roger Moore is British! It even says so in Wikipedia, so he's been up in space. []

    It's on Wikipedia. It must be real!

    What do you mean that's not real life? I don't understand! That can't be right. If it is how can I ever aspire to having sex in zero G with a gorgeous Russian spy?
  • by jimmux ( 1096839 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @10:36PM (#22779764)

    ...and mental capabilities beyond anything the UK was remotely capable of.

    You don't live in Australia, do you?

    Even we don't talk up our mental capabilities.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) * on Monday March 17, 2008 @10:45PM (#22779804) Homepage Journal
    Why not? They banded my little tabby here - and I got 'er back after she run off once, when the man who pours linseed oil into the duck's carcasses forgot to slam the lid shut on th eold coal-chute. That's another story there, that is. But it worked for my tabby, and I hear there gonna' band schoolchildren, too. That'll show 'em. Something to find the criminals in jeans, they're saying on Sky. An Astronaut ought to be easier to band than a tabby. And I bet they don't sit under the couch, trying to rub the thing off over their ears all night long, either!

    What? You said "ban"? What's that, then? Well, If they're Astronauts or not, I don't think we should let foreigners in, if they can't respect our ways, now. They're no better than the rest of us and that's the truth.
  • by NNOP ( 1162249 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @11:03PM (#22779866)
    Dear England, We, as an even smaller country, have never kicked the crap out of anyone. (Although for some reason we keep getting asked along as some sort of stupid sidekick) Anyway as a country of avid pub patrons we really want the 'REAL bear' recipe you mentioned. Usually we drink beer in our pubs but we do have a problem with an overpopulation of drop-bears and any demand for their tasty meat would be of great use in culling their numbers. Yours Sincerely, Australia
  • by jamesh ( 87723 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @11:17PM (#22779920)

    The whole point of sending robots is that they are cheaper and more expendable to send than humans

    I think that's why they prefer to send Americans and Russians instead. ...

    yes okay, i'll leave quietly.
  • Re:Tea (Score:0, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2008 @11:27PM (#22779966)
    This from people who put MILK in their tea.

  • by professional_troll ( 1178701 ) on Monday March 17, 2008 @11:39PM (#22780040) Homepage
    Stupid rhyme alert!
    Go directly to Digg, do not pass go, do not collect $200
  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) * on Monday March 17, 2008 @11:42PM (#22780058) Homepage Journal
    Oi, what was all the extra letters in "Ronoldo", anyways?
  • by Minwee ( 522556 ) <> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @12:57AM (#22780404) Homepage

    And, from the same show, a bit about manned spaceflight...

    He also made a speech about space. President Kennedy said, "By the end of this decade, I have decided to put a man on the surface of the Moon." At the same time, our Prime Minister in Britain, Sir Dingly Dang... You don't know anyway, do you? You have no idea! It was Sir Fritz Bunwalla. Engelbert Slaptyback, who was Prime Minister at the time, and he stood up and he said, "By the end of this decade, I have decided to put a man on the surface of the Earth!" And so he did. But it was kinda weird, 'cause we couldn't do the space race. We had no money, you know, rationing didn't stop 'til the year 2001! I still haven't even lived that long. But anyway, we just didn't have any money. So you were getting space rockets, testing them, sending a cat, dog, a fish, a monkey up into space. The fish was interesting! We didn't have enough money to put a man in a track suit up a ladder! I mean, I would've been there,

    "Go man, go!"

    "I'm going, I'm going! 'Ang on!"

    "Just hang on to the ladder!"

    "Hello, Swindon, I am here. Swindon, can you hear me?"

    "Swindon here, we are monitoring you on our instruments at the moment, we've got you on a tuba." "There should be a bigger laugh for that joke, I think."

    "Yeah, I can't quite understand it; I thought it was really funny. Swindon, a knackered, kind of Fresno town."

    "They don't seem to be going for it."

    "They're obviously bastards."

    "Anyway, Swindon, I'm nearly at the Moon... actually, that's a bit of an understatement, that one.

    "Have you got another big ladder, another bit of ladder? I don't think we're quite at the Moon yet, but I can see right over the top of the houses! Fantastic!"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @02:02AM (#22780596)
    Excuse me! The job of America Jr. is taken.


  • Re:Tea (Score:4, Funny)

    by Wizard Drongo ( 712526 ) <{wizard_drongo} {at} {}> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @04:02AM (#22780910)

    This from people who put MILK in their tea.

    Uhuh...Americans have no right whatsoever to criticise anyone's tea-drinking style.
    Last time you bunch of hooligans were allowed to make the tea you ended up dumping it into Boston Harbour.
    Uncultured heathens!

    Almost made me spit my tea (earl-grey, milky, sugar before you ask). Indeed, sir!

Every little picofarad has a nanohenry all its own. -- Don Vonada