Capitalism in space (or, “Pay up, or you’ll have to do it round the back of the garden shed”)

A new cold war is brewing, this time some 350 kilometres above the Earth’s surface.

With the world’s leading space agencies attempting to commercialise their efforts, Russian cosmonauts can reportedly no longer use orbiting US toilets, and the Russians, with their near monopoly on transport to and from the International Space Station, are milking the launcher advantage for all it’s worth. And what are the Europeans doing? No-one knows.

So what price now a number one, and how much crap are the poor astronauts expected to put up with? Perhaps these orbiting dogsbodies with PhDs should organise themselves into a trade union, and threaten industrial action until the politicians and bureaucrats sort themselves out.