Lancashire Aeronautics and Space Administration
So I clicked onto the Beeb, and there was Top Gear, which is an English program in which high-performance automobiles are tested, for example, by being made to drag-race against jet aircraft.
On this particular show, the hosts had teamed up with a group of British rocket geeks to, well, start their own space program. They had converted a tiny English car, the Reliant Robin, into a space shuttle, and were about to find out whether they could launch and recover it. Power was provided by six 40960 NS O hybrid rocket motors giving a maximum thrust of 8 metric tons. This was going to be the largest private rocket launch in Europe.
The show was freakin' riveting, no pun intended. Could a successful liftoff be achieved from a weapons testing range in Lancashire? Would the solid rocket boosters successfully detach, would the Reliant achieve separation from the external fuel tank and then glide to a successful landing at a nearby aerodrome?
Bear in mind that this whole thing was done on the budget of a weekly television series.
I don't want to spoil anything by giving away the ending. But here's the video.
It looks to the naive and gullible observer, like me, that Rocket Ship Galileo-style private space programs are closer than they might otherwise seem.