Scientists from the aeronautics department of the Mystical University of Glastonbury announced today that a human is unlikely to be launched into space next year on the maiden voyage of the new Astral class rocket. The rocket will launch from the Summerland Meadows in full view of an audience on Glastonbury Tor.
Instead of a human payload, Jeremy, a pig-tailed macaque trained since birth to step in as backup will head the space flight – the opportunity of a lifetime for this proud monkey. Monkeys are very popular on space flights because they respond well in an emergency, and with just a little adjustment can wear clothing that has been designed for humans.
Speaking through a translator, Jeremy was keen to let his audience know how happy he is; “I am very happy… this is a great honour and I am very proud… we have been training a lot… our diet of Kelloggs Fruit ‘n Fibre cereal, fresh fruit and Waitrose vegetarian lasagna has been particularly enjoyable.” These last comments were achieved by pointing to the sponsor logos on his jumpsuit and screaming excitedly.
Although many students at the Mystical University of Glastonbury have been training extensively in the hope of a place in the first UK manned space launch, there are now several sad faces. Chief Rocket Engineer Gordon McStevens explained why the university has made this tough decision; “The Mystical University of Glastonbury has the highest level of fees of any university in England because of the huge cost of the Astral space program. But recently other departments have started to become jealous of our share of the budget. The decision was taken this week to install a new oven in the Food Science department, and the money had to come from somewhere.”
Tarquin Bonham-Smythe, a student who until now was expected to participate on the space flight could not hide his disappointment; “I’m actually studying mystical food science here at the university so I shouldn’t complain, but I was hoping to take a place on the 2012 space launch. Obviously Jeremy is a great guy, very popular with the students and we all wish him the best of luck.”