The British Experimental Rocket Group (BERG) is the brainchild of maverick scientific entrepreneur Professor Bernard Quatermass. Accusing the Government of lack of leadership in the area of space research Quatermass has put together a group of private investors and ploughed millions of pounds of his own money into the development of this manned space mission.
The mission will see three astronauts travel 260,000 miles beyond the Earth - over 10,000 miles beyond the moon's orbit, moving at a top speed of 18,000 miles per hour. During the 22 day trip the three astronauts on board will carry out experiments designed by a joint British-German team. The BR7 will launch from the disused ELDO launch facility at Tarooma Range, Australia.
BERG has also sponsored numerous orbital flights and satellite placements, including the innovative Weightless Liquid Behaviour Study on the way in which liquid fuels move in space. It has an active programme of personnel exchanges whereby astronauts and scientists from the various European Union member states' space programmes swap with one another, thus sharing expertise and experience.
Critics of the programme worry at what they perceive as a privatisation of space, something which Quatermass quickly dismisses stating that he is simply filling the vacuum left by the British Governments withdrawal from manned space programmes.