by Staff Writers
London (UPI) Nov 19, 2012
European plans to join the United States in building a manned spaceship could see a British astronaut in space before the end of the decade, officials said.
A meeting of ministers of the European Space Agency's 20 member states in Italy this week will consider a proposal to join in the construction of the four-person U.S. Orion space capsule.
"Europeans will have the power to put men and women into space," Jean-Jacques Dordain, director general of the European Space Agency, told Britain's The Observer newspaper in an interview. "That would be a fantastic development for us."
"Britain has already indicated support," he said.
One candidate astronaut is Britain's Tim Peake, selected three years ago for European astronaut training.
While Peake's best chance of space flight would be a mission to the International Space Station, he and his European astronaut colleagues could have the opportunity of a deep space flight if Europe joins the Orion program.
The Orion capsule, intended to carry astronauts on missions of up to six months, could take crews to the moon, an asteroid or possibly even eventually to Mars.
No single nation can now afford to conduct a program of manned space exploration on its own, Dordain said.
"There is not a single space power left in the world that thinks they can afford to send men and women to explore the moon or Mars on their own national budget," he said. "This is something that will have to be done by international co-operation."
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|