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It was a stunning announcement: Major Tim. British astronaut. His impact is going to be immense as an icon for science and technology.
No longer do the British media have to claim UK-born US citizens flying with Nasa as their own. They now have the real thing.
But that's not the point. The UK, for so long a bystander in the realm of human spaceflight, is now part of the game.
The UK, remember, once had its own rocket capable of putting a satellite in orbit. It simply gave it up.
the director-general of ESA, often describes the UK's position on space as an "anomaly".