Monday, 26 September 2011

UKSEDS Moonshot

In their latest Eclipse e-newsletter UKSEDS have proclaimed “Professor Quatermass has got nothing on us...”: for, in conjunction with the British Interplanetary Society, they are planning to send a cubesat to the moon!

The Moon is moving away from the Earth at a rate of 3 cm/year; can we really afford to let it get away with this?

UKSEDS, together with the British Interplanetary Society, plan to send a CubeSat orbiter to the Moon! We're in the early planning stages yet, but the aim is for a mission in 2013/2014. Resources and support from third parties have recently become available to make this a serious proposition and what we need right now are volunteers. Would you like to be involved, or know someone who does? If so: contact us!

To get involved email

Sunday, 11 September 2011

RAeS Lecture: Europe’s Human Spaceflight Programme: Current Planning and Future Options

Sorry for the lack of activity recently; not a great start to the blog.  Blogging has been on pause for a while as I’ve been preoccupied with house-hunting and a few other things.  I have, however, taken on an ad-hoc role with UKSEDS helping to keep their website and the Big Space Calendar up to date.

An important talk is coming up at the Royal Aeronautical Society.  Dr. Thomas Reiter, ESA astronaut and Director of ESA’s new Directorate of Human Spaceflight and Operations, is to give a lecture at the RAeS entitled Europe's Human Spaceflight Programme: Current Planning and Future Options.  The lecture takes place at 6.00pm on Monday 19th September and is being jointly organised with the Centre for Space Medicine at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London.

With the demise of the Space Shuttle and the continuing debate in the USA as to what should follow it Europe’s plans for human spaceflight are the subject of much debate.  The Space Station also needs a crew to operate it and ESA has an astronaut corps, consisting of 8 Europeans, who are training for the upcoming missions. They are supported by a team of ground support staff who work in the European training, control and user centres.

Refreshments will be available from 5.30pm and a post-lecture reception will follow, sponsored by Logica.  This lecture is free to attend for both members and non-members alike; to confirm your attendance email or go to the event page and click on ‘Register for this event’.

P.S., it seems that David Mackay’s lecture at the Southend branch of the RAeS has been cancelled as it no longer appears on the RAeS events calendar.  It has been replaced with a talk by Stuart Eves from SSTL entitled Sophisticated Small Satellites from Surrey.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

RAeS Southend branch lecture: Captain David MacKay, Virgin Galactic

Captain David Mackay, Virgin Galactic’s Chief Test Pilot, is to speak at the Southend branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society.  Subject to US Security clearance Captain Mackay, who was recently the subject of an article in The Telegraph, will pilot Virgin’s flagship VSS Enterprise on its maiden voyage carrying Sir Richard Branson and his family into space.  Until then all test flights are being flown by US pilots from the development partners Scaled Composites.

The event takes place on 8th November 2011 from 8.00pm to 9.30pm at The Royal Naval Association, 79 East Street, Southend on Sea, SS2 6LQ.  For more details contact Sean Corr at or see the link below.


Sunday, 24 July 2011

British Astronauts blog and a chat with Tim Peake

Welcome to the British Astronauts blog.  This blog is an expansion of the British Astronauts Facebook page ( which I set up “to follow their work and to promote human spaceflight in the UK”.  I’ve moved to a blog in order to escape some of Facebook’s limitations.  I’m keeping the page going, linked to this blog.

To get things started, I thought I’d share this brief interview between Space blogger Jack Dearlove and Tim Peake:

UK Astronaut Major Tim Peake gives an update on his training (mp3)

Jack has his own blog at where he shares his own experiences including the recent STS135 tweetup.  He’s got some cool stuff on there with sound, videos and ionfographics which I want to check out as soon as I get time.