Australian astronaut Andy Thomas has attacked the state of Australian space science on the eve of his participation in a historic shuttle flight.I dare say that any other country - any other country - would move Heaven and Earth to have their country's flag on the spacesuit of one of their nationals.
Dr Thomas, a three-time space travel veteran who is scheduled to blast off on May 15 for a trip to the International Space Station, spoke of his disappointment that Australia was not doing more to further space science.
"It's a tragedy Australia is not actively involved in this program," he said from Houston's Johnson Space Centre.
"I don't wear an Australian flag on my flight suit because Australia doesn't support me or sponsor me.
"I don't have the direct support of the Australian Government."
Dr Thomas also lamented a decline in funding for research in Australia and numbers of Australians studying science and engineering.
His comments last week won the support of Australian space scientists and entrepreneurs who called for greater funding for space in the upcoming May federal budget.
It's not as if private industry is supplying great quantities of largesse for space research either. Or even small quantities.