The Passing of the Queen
The Queen has passed and our thoughts go out to the Royal Family and all those mourning her loss.
Her Majesty has been the head of the United Kingdom longer than the space age, becoming Queen seven years before the first satellite “Sputnik” was launched in 1959.
Over her reign she met many notable people connected with Space. In 1961, she met the first man in Space, Uri Gagarin (who many years later the Queen joked was “very Russian”). In 1969 she met the first men on The Moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin together with their crew mate Michael Collins. Buzz Aldrin recently tweeted a memory of this time:
As part of the Moon landings, leaders of 73 countries where asked if they would like to add a message which would be etched into a disc and left forever on the Moon. The Queen’s read:
On behalf of the British people, I salute the skills and courage which have brought man to the moon. May this endeavour increase the knowledge and well-being of mankind.Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 1969
Over the years she has of course also met with many of the British born astronauts. From Helen Sharman who went into space in 1991 and stayed on Russian space station, Mir, right through to Britain’s most recent astronaut, Tim Peake, who went in to space with ESA, in 2015.
Much more recently in 2021, the Queen was speaking online to children from Thomas Jones Primary School in West London for British Science Week and included talks from many experts in their field.
During a talk from Professor Caroline Smith (Head of Earth Sciences Collections and Principal Curator of Meteorites at the Natural History Museum) about the latest updates from the Martian Rover Perseverance the Queen said:
I think it’s fascinating to see the pictures of Mars – unbelievable really to think one can actually see its surface.Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2021
Later, Professor Caroline Smith mentioned the Queen asked “really interesting and pertinent question” and added that “she was genuinely interested”.
Let’s hope the King will also be genuinely interested in Space.
Rest in Peace Ma’am.