Quatermass Three: Astronauts lost? 29 March 2005
Professor Quatermass has confirmed that there has been no contact with the astronauts on the Quatermass rocket for over a day now.
"The BR7 Rocket was lost at 00.18am on 28 March, after swerving out of its expected path at 18,000 miles an hour," Professor Bernard Quatermass told a hushed press briefing. "We're obviously very concerned, but it's not necessarily a cause for extreme worry - these men have gone further than any human, and we don't know what reception problems exist beyond the moon."
Professor Quatermass refused to speculate on whether or not the men were dead. "It's an anguishing time for their relatives, and, a personally terrible time for me. Not only do I feel responsible for the astronauts, they are also personal colleagues, and friends. I still hold out hope that they will return safe and well."
He went on to explain that stations including Tarooma and BERG headquarters were constantly monitoring the area where the rocket was lost for any trace of its location. If one were established, it was possible they'd be able to return the rocket to Earth by remote control.
Quatermass rocket: "All's well," say astronauts. 27 March 2005
Communication has been resumed with the three astronauts on the BR7 rocket. At just under 250,000 miles out, they're back in constant radio, and some video, contact with BERG.
"It's so peaceful out here," Victor Caroon told schoolchildren in an internet hook-up today, "And the view is astounding from out here - hallo from space to everyone down there!"
Charles Greene carried out a few basic experiments chosen from those sent in by schoolchildren, including a demonstration of the way water acts in weightlessness. He reported that all was proceeding well, with only an apparent minor hit by space debris causing any surprises.
"It gave Ludwig quite a scare, but no damage done!" he said.
The rocket will be gone for another two weeks, during which it will travel beyond the moon's orbit.
In other news, America has announced that it is planning a manned mission to Mars in the new year.
Quatermass rocket launches! 26 March 2005
BR7 lifts off to the unknown.
Britain's first manned space mission left the planet today, taking Astronauts Greene, Caroon and Reichenheim a quarter of a million miles into space. "It went without a hitch!" said a delighted Professor Bernard Quatermass.
The mission, expected to last three weeks, will see the men carried outside Earth's orbit in a rocket that's a revolutionary remodelling of those used in missions in the 1950s.
Prof Quatermass, who designed the rocket with deputy John Paterson, is confident of success. "It's a neat, back-to-basics approach," he said, "which really paid off at launch. We've been enormously pleased with results so far."
Whether the three men inside appreciate the Prof's retro stylings we don't know. We hope it's a thumbs-up from off-world!
Read a transcript of an address by Professor Quatermass given just prior to the launch.
Quatermass Rocket: All systems go! 25 March 2005
BR7 tip-top for launch!
Tomorrow's launch is as exciting for Britain as it is for space exploration. Tommorrow, the Quatermass BR7 rocket launches. It is Britain's first privately-financed manned deep-space mission.
The rocket will take three astronauts over a quarter of a million miles away from the Earth. They'll be away for three weeks and become household names in the process.
The brave crew are Victor Carroon, Ludwig Reichenheim, and Charles Greene. Family man Charles Greene has arranged to be in close contact with his children's school during the trip.
The head of the British Experimental Rocket Group, and principal designer of the BR7 rocket, Professor Quatermass has overseen six successful test launches. He is confident of success from the company's first manned mission.
"We've got a lot riding on this one," he told us, "It's taken a lot of money and talent to get these people off the planet, and they'd better not come back until they've found something good."
The rocket launches from the disused ELDO facility at Tarooma Range, Australia, at 09.00am tomorrow.