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The Sandbag Times Issue No:58

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The Veterans Magazine

One Giant Leap... 50

One Giant Leap... 50 Years On As the world remembers that ‘First Step’ the UK extends it’s reach to the stars with it’s own project as recently revealed by the former Defence Minister. The Sandbag Times reflects on history and looks to the future. Article: Pablo Snow, SBT Image Credit: (1) BBC (2) Flight Global (3) Space Flight 101 One Small Step... In 1969, History was made when Neil Armstrong became the first man to step foot on the moon. Those immortal words were uttered which were to echo for the next fifty years. “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. This was just 66 years after Orvil and Wilbur Wright first got their Wright Flyer off the ground. Getting back to 2019 we can look back over an incredible century of flight. In fact, as we mentioned, it is literally just over a century since man first found a way to get off the ground in the very first aircraft. Less than fifty years later, following the air campaigns of the second world war, the first jet aircraft were produced adding a whole new dimension to flight. Jets gave aviators the ability to fly so much higher and faster than before. In 1959, a rocket powered aircraft was produced known as the X15 which in 1967 would fly higher that ever imagined at an altitude of 102,100 feet at a speed of Mach 6.7. The pilot was officially the first Astronaut. Just two years later, man stepped on the moon. These days, we have seen regular rocket and shuttle launches, satellites launched to relay information in a myriad of ways, a manned space station and man has even reached Mars. But let’s talk about the UK. The UK has been involved in space programmes since 1952, eventually launching the Ariel satellite programme in 1959 using US rockets but it wasn’t until 2011 until the UK was to fund it’s first astronaut to the International Space Station. The honour falling to Army Air Corps Apache pilot, Tim Peake when he rocketed off to the ISS in 2015. But as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing, the former UK’s Defence Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, outlined the UK’s future space programme. Team ARTEMIS (1) The small satellite demonstrator, which will be supported by a new transatlantic team of UK and US defence personnel, named Team ARTEMIS, will sit alongside a host of other programmes that will demonstrate the UK’s leading future role in space. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief of the Air Staff, said: “I am delighted that the Secretary of State has announced our plans to take our space ambitions to the next stage through Project ARTEMIS. When this is combined with our investments in the training and development of our people, improved command and control, greater space situational awareness, and (1) Article exerpt from Air101.co.uk (2) Article exerpt from FlightGlobal.com | 20 www.sandbagtimes.co.uk

One Giant Leap... Virgin Orbit our commitment to the Space Coalition with our allies, it all underlines the importance and constantly growing role of Space in the Royal Air Force’s capabilities.” ARTEMIS gives us the opportunity to grow skills, understand the military relevance of small satellites and responsive launch, and consider how to get space-based information to the warfighter in operationally relevant timelines, all of which are vital to ensure we stay ahead of the evolving threat. race has now evolved into an almost routine exercise. It makes one think where we will be in another 50 years. Colonisation? maybe living in purpose built orbital cities? Maybe even reaching new worlds? Who knows. Major Tim Peake (2) As part of Team Artemis, An RAF pilot will be selected for Virgin Orbit’s small satellite launch activities, with a successful candidate to fly on board its modified Boeing 747-400 platform, named “Cosmic Girl”. A total of 17 candidates applied for the opportunity and a shortlist of four – two each from the fast jet and multi-engined aircraft areas – has been drawn up. One of these will join the Virgin Orbit flight-test team, Air Commodore Richard Davies, commandant of the RAF’s Air Warfare centre, confirmed at the Royal International Air Tattoo. Placing a test pilot within the Virgin Orbit organisation forms part of a broader satellite initiative announced by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 18 July. The future of the UK Space Projects have never been more vibrant and exciting. Astronaut Tim Peake drew the line in the sand when he embarked on his ISS mission for other would-be British astronauts. Incidentally, Tim is hopeful for his second trip in the near fututre. Watch this space (excuse the pun). But just 50 years on from that first step on the moon, the Space www.sandbagtimes.co.uk 21 |

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