Really, we are. But for the love of god old chap, make sure the first 2015 space station cargo run is packed to the brim with tea bags!
Ever since I heard the first UK government-funded astronaut was being trained to join the European Space Agency in 2009, I nearly wet myself. You see, when you’re a kid growing up in the UK, you can say: “I want to be a fireman,” “I want to be a policeman,” or “I want to be a doctor,” (I said the latter, which, as it turned out, wasn’t too far off.) You can’t say, for example: “I want to be an astronaut!” — to do that you’d have to emigrate, something my mum would never have endorsed to a starry-eyed 10-year-old.
Ever since Margaret Thatcher’s government deemed human spaceflight too expensive for our little island nation to shoulder in the 1980s, we Brits have been relegated to spectators in the human spaceflight arena (robotic spaceflight, however, is a whole different matter). But now, that’s beginning to change with the announcement that Major Tim Peake has been selected as a 2015 space station crew member.
The UK has started its own space agency (at long last) and the agency has a logo. The latter is the big news here.
At a time when motivation for manned spaceflight by NASA is dwindling and yet private industry is forcing its foot in the door of getting stuff into space, it’s nice to hear that the UK government felt the need to keep up with the rest of the world and set up an agency of their own. That’s not to say the UK hasn’t been involved in space programs before now, it’s just that our involvement has always been a piecemeal approach; hitching rides on other nation’s rockets with occasional probes (erm, well, the Mars Beagle 2 lander is the only one that comes to mind). Personally, I blame Maggie Thatcher (I have my reasons).
Awesome, so we now have an agency rather than an office cubicle tagged “Space.” This is a bona fide agency that has lunar aspirations (yep, really, we’re that original) and a funky logo to boot.
However, not everyone is impressed with the logo. In fact, Ken Carbone, a graphic designer who writes for the website Fast Company, thinks it’s dull:
The design recipe is simple, right? Take a square, add a Union Jack, thrust an arrow through it and BAM!
This logo is anything but tasty. The net result looks terribly fractured and unstable. Not the ideal visual for space flight.
To make matters worse, the U.K. Space Agency will have the inevitable and unfortunate acronym “U.K.S.A.” which sounds like something translated into Pig Latin.
But say if “fractured and unstable” is exactly the impression we were trying to give, huh? But, in all fairness, he does point out that all space agency logos are dull.
Let’s have a look the offending logo. Prepare yourself, it’s a disgrace:
Woah! Hold on a second. I thought it was supposed to be crap? As far as logos go, that’s one I can believe in. I mean, it’s a re-worked version of our proud national flag. It also has a gert red arrow, pointing up. What more do you need?
Admittedly, I think the acronym isn’t much cop. U.K.S.A. sucks cheese, “BritSpace” is far superior in my humble opinion (Science Minister Lord Drayson, consider that a suggestion), but as for the logo, I’m proud of that, I think it means business. Look at that arrow. It’s red. Pointing up. Masculine. Grrr.
That’s the logo of an aspiring space faring nation if I ever saw one.
And now for my least favorite space agency logo. Ladies and Gentlemen, please avert your eyes for the Croatian Space Agency:
But hey, what do I know, I’m not a graphic designer.