"Oh yeah, we are serious about it, and when people ask if we're a joke or if it's a metaphor for something else we have to tell them 'no'."

comment from a London-based Autonomous Astronaut as broadcast on Greater London Radio's 'The Robert Elms Show' on 6/12/96

The Association of Autonomous Astronauts flared into life on April 23, 1995 with a bold concept: return the power of space travel to the people. Space flight, they said, has been controlled by governments, militaries and large corporations for far too long. Local, independent, community-based space exploration programs were the only just alternative. In other words, since everyone has yearned to be an astronaut since childhood, why not do something about it?

While not committed on paper to any particular political ideology, the AAA chose to formulate a network of independent collectives, much like the worldwide anarchist movement. The AAA proper was more of a clearing house or rallying point; a name for the movement and an umbrella for documentation and inspiration. The overall goal was not merely space tourism, but the establishment of independent autonomous communities free from the bounds of earth's gravitational and politico-socio-economic fields.

That, however, was long-term. As they liked to state, AAA was not primarily concerned with the technological 'how' of boosting indie-explorers into orbit and beyond. They were certain that the price of space flight, like all technologies, would fall over time. Their focus, instead, was on the nature and character of what would or could happen when space travel was available to all. "Build Your Own Spaceship" was more a project of the mind than drafting tables and slide rules. As such, AAA drew up a five year plan which had as its sole goal the creation of a worldwide network of independent community-based space exploration programs and spacecraft builders.

Most importantly, AAA was a state of mind; a freedom from traditional restrictions. The power of music to "launch" oneself into space was never overlooked. AAA enacted a very serious study by drafting several electronic musicians to conceptualize a "rave in space" program. Autonomous existence in space, after all, should be fun! And booty-shakin'! Sex in space and the efficacy thereof was, naturally, also an object of prime concern.

Several publications were released by the AAA over their five-year lifespan. Most of them are no longer available, but it may be possible to conjure them from the Internet. Look for:

  • Here Comes Everybody! - The 1st Annual Report of the AAA
  • Dreamtime Is Upon Us! - The 2nd Annual Report of the AAA
  • Moving in Several Directions At Once! - The 3rd Annual Report of the AAA
  • Space Travel By Any Means Necessary!- The 4th Annual Report of the AAA
  • Space 1999 - Ten Days That Shook The Universe
  • See You In Space! - The 5th Annual Report of the AAA
  • Ad Astra! - The AAA Newsletter
  • T-shirts, slipmats, and Rave In Space CDs

"Space 1999", mentioned above, was a ten-day event organized by the AAA as a festival in London which was meant to be both a giant party and a serious outreach program. It began on June 18th, kicked off with a protest against the militarization of space, and continued with a packed schedule of lectures, film screenings, dance parties, art shows and even an "Escape from Gravity" kite show.

The five-year-plan came to an end on April 23, 2000, and was considered a success. AAA groups had "officially" formed in Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Their goal met, the Association of Autonomous Astronauts voluntarily vanished into thoughtspace to allow the next stages of independent space travel to develop themselves freely. Orthhodoxy, after all, is the bane of innovation.

"Every man and every woman is an Astronaut! Forward to a multiverse without borders!"

http://www.uncarved.demon.co.uk/AAA/further.html (and all links thereon)

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