After seventy years in the planning, the British Space Industry is finally ready to launch it's first astro-noughts this summer.
"It's a little known fact," said Brian Cox, "but Britain invented space-travel. All the technology other countries use to get past the this envelope of air surrounding our fragile blue green planet was invented right here. A lot of it in Manchester."
Britain being Britain, it has taken them far longer to get into a position to launch than other countries due to committees. There were committees to decide where the launch facilities would be, with Dartmoor finally winning out. There was a committee to determine the environmental impact of turning thirty square miles of absolutely nothing into a busy launch facility. There were committees to decide whether food should be sent up in plastic or Pyrex dishes covered with cling-film made by the astro-noughts mothers.
"The last of the committees has finally finished, and we're go go go," said Cox. "We know the technology works because we've been selling it to the USA, France, Russia and China for the past seventy years."
Health and safety held up the launch for ten years when it was realised that sitting on top of two hundred tonnes of highly explosive fuel and travelling to a place inhospitable to life could put the astro-noughts in some danger. A seventy-two page indemnity paper requiring thirty signatures from those travelling has solved this particular issue.
"We've had some technological issues to solve," said Cox. "The Russians use pencils which can short out the electrics, whilst the Americans spent billions of dollars on a pen that writes in zero gravity. We're using crayons."
Other safety concerns determined that slippers were safe to wear in space, and FCUK have made the space suits.
"They're a very fashionable shade of blue made from denim," said Cox. "I like them."
Should the launches be successful, Britain will be taking over from Russia as the main link for the USA to the international space station.
"The Americans like our Bridlington class rockets more than the Soyuz," said Cox. "It's because we use nice comfy armchairs instead of those horrible hard plastic ones."