British College Launches Astronaut Course

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2008 7:14 PM CST
In this image provided by NASA, Astronaut Greg Chamitoff looks through a window in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station at earth Sunday Nov. 2, 2008.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A British university is making a political stand as it teaches students how to survive in outer space, the Guardian reports. The University of Leicester has hired NASA shuttle veteran Jeff Hoffman to lead a new course on how to become an astronaut, despite the UK government's ban on manned space flight. Lawmakers are reviewing the policy and promise to make a decision by the end of the year.

"I'm fed up with the way the UK keeps dodging the issue of being involved in human spaceflight," said Martin Barstow, head of physics and astronomy at Leicester. "Our students don't need to be loaded with that baggage. They still have aspirations to be astronauts and they still want to get involved in the space industry, so why should the UK government's attitude be a handicap?"