In 2004, The Royal Astronomical Society set up a commission * to investigate whether the UK should break with tradition by funding human spaceflight.
ESA’s Aurora programme, coupled with NASA’s new vision for Space Exploration, involving a return to the Moon and a manned mission to Mars, made it timely, the RAS believed, for the UK to review its traditional opposition to involvement in human space flight.
* The commission consists of:
Prof F Close, University of Oxford, Chair
Prof K Pounds, University of Leicester
Dr J Dudeney, British Antarctic Survey