After years of rocket science passing us by, Blighty is going to get its own space agency.
So far the glorious British Empire upon which the sun has never set has failed to get its tea drinking, fish and chip eating, culture above the earth’s surface, but now it seems we are ready to give Johnny Alien a run for his money.
The new organisation, which will be announced today, is expected to take control of the money spent on space by government departments and science funding agencies.
Britain spends £270 million a year into civil space projects, which is just enough cash to buy a nose cone on a space shuttle. Most of the money is spent as part of the European Space Agency (ESA) programme.
However it is hoped that a new agency will bring more coherence to space policy which has not been doing too well since the UK gave up on the Blue Streak launcher. The Blue Streak was a dustbin stuck on a rocket which looked a bit like something from Thunderbirds. It had a nasty habit of freezing up and not even monkeys thought it was safe to go up in.
Unfortunately, it looks like the men from Mars will not get a visit from anyone from the boys from the black stuff yet. It looks more like an administration move rather than any pioneering initiative from the British to stick the Union Jack somewhere extraterrestrial.