The space age thang

It speaks volumes about the neurotic British obsession with youth that an otherwise interesting lifestylee article on the UK’s first official European Space Agency astronaut carries the headline “Major Tim Peake says he is not too old to go into space”.

What on Earth is that all about? I mean, the last thing you want orbiting the planet in a small tin can shared with several other astronauts of various nationalities and cultural mores is a callow post-adolescent who doesn’t know his arse from his elbow.

The NASA astronauts of the early 1960s were experienced test pilots, and even they were given to occasional displays of dickheadedness. In more recent times the average age of NASA, Russian and ESA astronauts has been in the late 40s, and it is common for mission specialists who are well into their 50s to go into space. John Glenn flew his final mission when he was 77 years old, and was a grand old 40 when he became the first American to orbit Earth.

Tim Peake has only just turned 41 (in an article so bizarrely focused on age the BBC managed to get Peake’s age wrong), and, despite the presence of a few wrinkles, he remains bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Will Peake be the first ginger into space? Who cares?

All the best to Tim Peake, and may he live long and prosper in his career as a European astronaut. All being well he’s got 20+ years in the job. Lucky sod!