space cat with some diamonds
Diamonds, like those on Callisto. And a cat, actual size.

The July 1965 issue of TV Century 21 ran a special feature on Callisto, one of the four large moons of Jupiter. The article went on to suggest that in the dark reaches of space there might be diamonds and other precious gemstones. These jewels, the article said, may well litter the surface of a planet like Callisto. Some of them could even be as big as a small cat. This mission was set up to relieve Callisto of some of those priceless gems.

<p”>Nearly 40 years passed before technology evolved that would allow the Welsh Space Agency to build a craft big and powerful enough to go to Callisto and return with a fortune in diamonds. Massive 150 carat jewels that have never been seen by human eyes. But first we had to get to an icy moon more than a million miles beyond Jupiter.

Dilwyn's manky caravan
Cymrunaut Dilwyn Griffiths’ caravan

The mission wasn’t heavily subscribed as far as outside investment goes. This meant that corners had to be cut. So, as well as those already made to the mission itself, the craft and all the ground crew, the cymrunaut training budget was also slashed to zero.

The search began for a pilot already well versed with the technologies involved and also with something of the rigours in getting to an airless world in the frozen depths of space hundeds of miles away.

Dilwyn Griffiths, fairground worker, fitted the bill perfectly. Used to the confinements of caravan dwelling, the rigours of riding the footplate of the Waltzers and also on living on an appalling diet of burgers and candyfloss. A few months inside a tin can in space would be nothing to our man.

A map of space
Space map showing slingshot gravity-assist manoeuvre for Cymru III




With insufficient power in the primary thrusters to reach the destination, an alternative was found which involved emulating NASA’s slingshots to achieve the required velocity.

Classical gravity assist calculations were a bit beyond our mission scientists, besides, the number four key doesn’t work on our calculator. So instead, we reinforced the nose cone of Cyrmu 1 intending to ricochet the craft off the surface of the moon, then Mars and finally on to Callisto.

Sometimes, low-tech solutions can be found to high-tech problems and the manoevre was practised extensively using the pool table at the White Lion in Cerrigydrudion.

Dilwyn Griffiths tries out his spacesuit for size
Dilwyn Griffiths tries out his spacesuit for size





Grattans home shopping catalogue provided the perfect solution to the spacesuit used in the mission. With 100% flame-resistant polyester, nylon space boots and free walkie-talkie set. Dilwyn should be well protected from the rigours of inter-stellar travel.

And with easy payment terms of 48p per week for 52 weeks it fitted in nicely with the mission budgeting arrangements.