If current negotiations with the European Space Agency are to break down, the government has given a glimpse of what the future might hold for British space endeavour. In a series of statements Her Majesty’s coffer-squatter Phillip Hammond has outlined an ambitious role for Britain to maintain its place in the queue at the cosmic enterprise buffet.
As an alternative to the US military or the EU-backed Galileo GPS systems, the UK populace will have access to a satnav system that will be the technological equivalent of a 20-year old tatty A-Z with routes mapped by a paranoid spider. Depending on geographical location, this will be voiced by either Ray Winstone or Peter Kay. It will have full powers of navigation across the UK and possibly the Costa Del Sol, but nowhere else as true patriotic Britons wouldn’t want to go to such frightful dumps full of garlic-scoffing foreigners.
In full flight will be Britain’s capability to launch vessels into space with the construction of the ECND (Enormous Catapult Near Dewsbury). Based on a medieval trebuchet design and powered by young offenders, the ECND will possess the power to launch four Yorkshiremen in their cars holding their breath and muttering about how crap Lancashire is into space every day.
Front and centre of the programme and with no expense spared will be the huge sustainable optical telescope made from millions of contact lenses recovered from water treatment plants throughout the UK. Cleaned of ‘debris’ the lenses on the ‘Lensy McLensyface’ telescope will be lovingly arranged by Professor Brian Cox and Banksy, to possess the dual capabilities of the capture of ancient light from the most distant of galaxies and the power to make you think why.