The end of an era

At around 6am this morning (BST) the last Skylark sounding rocket blasted off from Swedish Space Corporation’s Esrange site, near Kiruna Sweeden.

The Skylark was the last wholly designed UK rocket. First concived in 1955, the Skylark was at the forefront of low budget UK space science. In the 50 years since it first flew, the Skylark project has launched over 440 rockets carrying payloads designed to investigate everything from X-ray sources in deepspace to protein growth and frogspawn fertilisation in microgravity.

All future suborbital launches will now be made with the more expensive American-built Oriole sounding rockets. Truly the end of an era in UK space science.

Edit: The launch finally took place on Monday 2nd of May 2005 instead of Sunday 1st of May.

New mobile ‘phone

My old T-mobile contract was costing me a small fortune per month. I mainly make calls in the daytime, so all the contract free time in the evenings and weekends was essientially useless and unused. The new contract with Orange nets me 200 min free calls anytime and costs £30 per month. New contract promotions [1] change this to 400 min calls and £15 for the first 6 months add to that the free [2] ‘phone and I think I got a pretty good deal.

There is something a little strange in the fact that my new ‘phone runs somewhere between 10 and 50 times faster than my first ever computer and has a shade over 320x the RAM. I wonder if there is a Sinclair Spectrum emulator available…

k700i - new phone

[1] May require the acceptance of vast quantities of spam email and just mail by post. I don’t care, I use a spam filter and have a paper shredder.
[2] Free in the sense Orange hope I’ll spend enough on the contract to pay for the ‘phone in the first 12 months.


That didn’t last long. I’m not even in the top 10 any more for “Papal Explosion” do not even apear if you search for the term with quotes around it.