Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml en-gb 30 Thu 10 Jul 2014 07:39:59 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=96#comment27 AllenT2 I was referring to that NASA upper management that failed to have a replacement for the Shuttle ready despite the fact that they have known it had a limited lifespan for at least 15-25 years. The upper management I am specifically referring to was one George W Bush the man who cancelled that replacement in 2001. Its not just Bush though, every new president gets to play space cowboy right back to JFK who was actually as bad as any.(men might have been on Mars before 1980 if it wasn't for JFK) Remember Obama? just cancelled Constellation? that threw away another 5 to 10 billion, I suppose thats nothing compared to the 700 billion spent in Iraq. :) Fri 04 Jun 2010 11:59:56 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=92#comment26 John_from_Hendon wrote:"The only way that the UK can be part of a space race, that even the USA cannot afford is by joining in global and European activities. Two brains is a plonker!"Translated that means we want access to America's technology, expertise, control and glory because it is in fact we who can not do it alone, not the Americans. :)I say America should do everything on its own when possible. Why should it support other country's space agency and ambitions? Thu 03 Jun 2010 13:11:06 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=89#comment25 Robert Lucien wrote:"I used to think it was a heap of conspiracies but it isn't- most British politicians don't have the imagination or intelligence to organize a conspiracy- or even a small shop. :) Like NASA upper management. ;)"You mean the same "Nasa upper management" that has overseen the most successful and advanced space agency in the world? Thu 03 Jun 2010 13:06:58 GMT+1 AllenT2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=85#comment24 Paul J Weighell wrote:"Trying to pick up bits here and there now cannot recover the minimum critical mass we need to become a player again in the aerospace / defence / micro-electronics sectors that still drive US growth 40 years on. No iPad without a Launch Pad!"Come again?? How did UK "micro-electronics sectors" "drive" Intel, Texas Instruments, Motorola, IBM, AMD, Apple, Dell, Gateway, Cisco, Sun, Oracle, etc, etc, etc, and all the other American companies to dominate high tech?How did they "drive" the creation and the production of the most advanced spacecraft and aircraft in the world, that also happen to be American, and all the companies that make them possible?Showing some British pride is all well and good but you are really stretching far for something to hold on to. Thu 03 Jun 2010 13:04:52 GMT+1 Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=82#comment23 My point is simply that no one who is spending 30 billion a year on a pointless war can then go and turn around and say they don't have a few billion a year left over for things like space. It isn't just space its all research, as other countries are increasing the amount they spend on science and engineering we are cutting back. Just watch the next generation of reactors and big projects here get built by French and German engineers.. we were once a world leader in nuclear and space tech. I used to think it was a heap of conspiracies but it isn't- most British politicians don't have the imagination or intelligence to organize a conspiracy- or even a small shop. :) Like NASA upper management. ;) Thu 03 Jun 2010 10:04:39 GMT+1 John_from_Hendon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=78#comment22 #20 and #22Guys get real - No-one will stop military spending or divert it into space. (unless there is a threat of an alien invasion from space, or an asteroid, of course.) You both write as though we can flip a switch and live in a different world. Sorry lads, we can't. There is the whole infrastructure of the Military Industrial Complex that needs military spending so that it can corrupt the officials of other regimes, some exceptionally unsavoury, just to keep a few hundred people in work. I agree that it is sickening, but it is, if not unchangeable, then very very slow to change. It can't even stop itself buying the weapons to fight the war before last! It makes absolutely dire decisions, but it exists, and that are a huge number of bureaucrats whose whole life has been part of the system. And yes, it is all about money, and Two Brains hasn't got any! Both of you criticise me for concentrating on it yet you do so even more than I do! Wed 02 Jun 2010 21:35:00 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=74#comment21 Robert Lucien #20."Talk about 'plonkers', the UK is spending over 30 billion a year on a totally pointless war that could go on for decades, the US is spending over 100 billion a year."in 2008 total global military expenditure was $1464bn; that's our governments spending $228 approx. per person per year on killing, maiming and controlling us. sickening. Tue 01 Jun 2010 19:49:53 GMT+1 Andrew2070 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=71#comment20 Thanks Jonathan. Of course, if the state had some defence need then we know it would and could proceed immediately as it did in the 1950s-1970s. Tue 01 Jun 2010 13:02:01 GMT+1 Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=67#comment19 # 19, John_from_Hendon wrote:".... The Tories need to live in the real World. The only way that the UK can be part of a space race, that even the USA cannot afford is by joining in global and European activities. Two brains is a plonker!"Talk about 'plonkers', the UK is spending over 30 billion a year on a totally pointless war that could go on for decades, the US is spending over 100 billion a year. The whole of NASA costs less than 20 billion a year - so we could afford the whole of NASA for less than the money we're currently flushing down the Afghanistan toilet. It has to be pointed out that unlike interminable internecine wars space research has a history of big payoffs. We wouldn't have home computers or the internet without space research, we wouldn't have much science or things like the environmental data that underpins modern climate research. More importantly what about curiosity or the desire for exploration or the simple furtherance of science and truth? /rantMaybe you are simply a robot with no soul, you certainly seem very obsessed with money. I hate the old Tories but can you say Nulabour or the 'Liberals' are any better? They all chose for Britain to live and die by the sword of capitalism. Like Michael Moore said 'capitalism is evil', the only way to win is to accept that we live by evil - no money is ever truly clean. Deal with it./end rant Tue 01 Jun 2010 12:02:06 GMT+1 John_from_Hendon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=64#comment18 Space.......the Tories.....and the UKThe problem with two-brains is that there appears to be a massive space (void) between his ears. He apparently does not understand that all of these things cost MONEY and we haven't got any left - indeed we will spend the next generation paying back the excess debts that we accumulated during the last decade or so.Furthermore there is the moral and ethical problem of pandering to the uber-wealthy at the expense of the poor. Every individual needs to be given a personal energy budget and when, on this basis, any space activity can be justified then and only then should it be attempted or allowed. But as the Tories are totally enthral to the uber-wealthy I expect that they will spend the tax pounds of the poor on this absurdly inefficient activity. Indeed even to mention this as an aim demonstrates just how unreformed the Tory party remains. The Tories need to live in the real World. The only way that the UK can be part of a space race, that even the USA cannot afford is by joining in global and European activities. Two brains is a plonker! Tue 01 Jun 2010 08:38:15 GMT+1 CoalitionOfTheWilting http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=60#comment17 All I want is a moon somewhere,Far away from the dirty air,To fly my car somewhere,Oh wouldn't it be lovely. Mon 31 May 2010 23:03:24 GMT+1 Jonathan Amos http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=57#comment16 @Andrew2070. From page 66 of the Sapce-IGT report: "The Outer Space Act needs to be reformed. The new Agency needs to end the insurance-based regime, which deters all UK launch service initiatives. One result of this is a possibility that we will deter Space tourism operators from developing UK launch locations because the outer Space Act requires operators to provide the UK Government with an unlimited indemnityagainst damages resulting from an accident and provide £100 million insurance cover. This is a potentially important consideration as the technology used for Space tourism could provide the basis for launching small satellites into low Earth Orbit, a potentially lucrative niche market where launch capacity could become scarce. We recommend that the Government sets a clear timetable of no later than the end of 2010 to resolve the issues around launching from suitable UK locations based on the current discussions between BNSC and the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority)."It's not the only issue, but it is a significant one. @jr4412. The withdrawal from CLOVER was a major disappointment. Gravitational waves are the next great breakthrough, I'm sure of that.@brobof & @Stephen: I can feel a Skylon update coming on. It's about a year since I did it in this blog; and we're about a year away from their big technology demo. The D1 redesign is progressing, also. Mon 31 May 2010 08:54:36 GMT+1 Andrew2070 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=53#comment15 I don't think America subscribes to a ban on militarisation of space. They have the prompt global strike and X37 in development.The UK doesn't have long range airpower of any kind as far as I know now that the V-Force is long since retired although there were reports of long range drones being developed.I agree though, Blue Streak etc came about through a perceived military need and generated great advances so it seems imperative for Liam Fox to encourage the MOD's interest and collaboration in spaceplanes, launchers, hypersonic propulsion etc. UKSA was designed to have some coordinating role with the MOD wasn't it? Sat 29 May 2010 11:54:35 GMT+1 Robert Lucien http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=49#comment14 So is the UK getting serious on space? from the looks of this definitely not. I hate to point it out but space is expensive, for a serious effort we need to see an investment of 10 to 20 billion anything less and we will still be Micky Mouse. To me that seems pretty cheap compared to the 30 billion a year spent on a pointless war or the money spent on Trident effectively a rocket capacity we pay for but will never use.I actually have a radical solution to fix things. Space has always lost to funding for war, that is the only reason we didn't get all those dreams of the 50's and 60's. Just imagine half of that 700 billion America wasted destroying Iraq used in space. My solution isn't to end war (that would be impossible) but to undo the ban on military space research as this will allow a flood of money in for all space tech. This might sound evil but I believe it is the ban on military space applications that has actually put such a stranglehold on on all space funding. Sat 29 May 2010 11:01:57 GMT+1 Stargazer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=46#comment13 #13, When money is tight PR work is usually the first to go. NASA though goes the opposite way: when money is tight PR is even more important to ensure that you get your message across that you are worth a share of the decreasing pot.One of the biggest complaints that you will hear about ESA is that it is not agressive enough at getting it message across. It does amazing things, but the public barely hears about them. Getting public money is not a right: you have to get your message across that you deserve it, something that seems distasteful to the average UK scientist. Sat 29 May 2010 09:01:31 GMT+1 jr4412 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=42#comment12 Jonathan Amos."Money will be an issue, as ever; UK governments of every colour have not invested in space at the same levels as the other major European states and the state of the public finances means that this situation is unlikely to change dramatically."last year, the government couldn't (wouldn't?) find the measly £2.5m to continue financing CLOVER, this year they're 'investing' over £2m in a visitor center!whether or not the "new UK government coalition "believes in space"" doesn't matter, it would seem they aren't any smarter than the previous government. Sat 29 May 2010 04:58:32 GMT+1 brobof http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=39#comment11 Useful article Jonathan. Gives one hope that the current Minister 'gets space.' (To paraphrase John Holdren.) Alas we must tread water in the current economic climate. Two essential technologies that we must retain and develop: Ion thrusters and PhotoVoltaic Cells. If Britain can maintain its leadership in the former and regain its pre-eminence in the latter then there is a nice little earner. TIE Freighter! A cheap reusable Cargo Tug will be of great utility if the next frontier will be NEO as Obama's budget indicates.Naturally Reaction Engines need maximum support as if that pays off the effect will be revolutionary. Hopefully HMG will have learned from the Whittle debacle. Meanwhile keep plugging away on the outreach! If I may be so bold I would suggest a piece on JAXA's IKAROS (fingers crossed) with a tie in to CubeSail.http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-05/dod-space-junk-tipping-point-collision-could-set-catastrophic-chain-reactionRefers. (And no mention of Kessler Syndrome... how quickly they forget!) Fri 28 May 2010 21:41:00 GMT+1 Stargazer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=35#comment10 The news that the UK wanted to make a managed withdraw from certain projects sent - and is still sending - shockwaves through ESA, in part because pulling the plug on a UK-supported instrument can make several others that depend on it, inviable. ESA has been surprisingly supportive, in part because the UK has not been getting as much juste retour as its contributions merited. There is though, undoubtedly, also a sense that the UK is now getting serious about ESA and space in general.Obviously I welcome the intention to do more in space, although some of my colleagues ask me what exactly the UK Space Agency has done and what it is for. Any thoughts (particularly on the first question, the second one has a more obvious answer)? Fri 28 May 2010 20:50:59 GMT+1 curiousman http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=32#comment9 I worked on rockets in he '70s and later on satellites. We had to take our satellites to Germany to get them environmentally tested because the UK didn't have the facilities. IABG in Germany was financed by the German Government to about 50% and the remaining 50% of their budget had to be found by outsourcing testing to cars, aircraft et al. (For example BMW cars were tested there). In the UK all the taxpayers money went into DRA, later DERA and subsequently Qinetic (now a public company) and DSTL. There was very little cross-fertilisation and hence cost-saving of these hughly expensive facilities. Pity, but then our government never really understood high tech development or manufacturing, nor the long term financial benefits which the French (with Ariane) and the Germans had grasped. Fri 28 May 2010 20:02:43 GMT+1 Paul J Weighell http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=28#comment8 If I sound bitter here then it’s because I am. I wanted to work in the UK space industry but bloody Wilson and his low IQ Labour government had trashed it before I could get there!If the 1960s Labour government had not killed of the UK's successful rocket groups (Blue Streak, Black Knight, Black Arrow etc.) such that we finally sold off the technology that powers today's French Ariane project for a song, we might perhaps also have saved our basic micro-electronics and computer industries that relied so heavily on those projects.We were utter mugs to give up our lead over everyone except the US and Russia and Wilson’s consummate stupidity in abandoning high technology still impacts costly decisions like Trident today – we should have been selling such systems not buying them!Our own projects during the period all vanished because Labour just did not understand the long-term issues and hated the well-educated scientists and engineers running them. Wilson et al ploughed cash into 'Sociology’ graduates instead to produce the social cohesion disaster we all suffer from today.So, we started the 1970s with no real hope for an advanced engineering future and only the already dying embers of a socialist riddled downstream mass production sector for comfort. Hah!Trying to pick up bits here and there now cannot recover the minimum critical mass we need to become a player again in the aerospace / defence / micro-electronics sectors that still drive US growth 40 years on. No iPad without a Launch Pad!To restart a UK advanced science and engineering sector now will require massive and sustained long-term investment to get beyond niche boutique markets like space tourism.I think its way too late but hope I am wrong. Fri 28 May 2010 17:47:20 GMT+1 mr-scorpio http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=24#comment7 All well & good...However we DID have a flegling space program, where we actually designed & built our OWN launch systems (rockets) AND put our own test satellites into Orbit. That all ended in the early 70's(Look up Black Arrow on wikipedia)Pathetically, to date, we are the ONLY developed nation in the world, to CANCEL it's own 'in-house' space program, after demonstrating the ability to have one.Typical near sited politics!Out of interest, as of 2006, after BAE Systems sold it's shares in Airbus, our once world leading civil aviation industry came to an end as well. We now no longer have ANY home grown (owned), CIVIL aircraft industry in this country. (Yes, we still build parts for Airbus, Bombardier etc, but we don't have any 'ownership' in it...) Even the Farnborough F1 Kestrel, a modest 6 seat, but rather nice, single engined turboprop that was being designed here, has had to relocate off-shore due to lack of interest by UK based investors.Makes you proud to be British ... NOT! Fri 28 May 2010 16:59:28 GMT+1 Andrew2070 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=21#comment6 "I personally would love to see Virgin Galactic being launched from the UK," Mr Willetts said."There are a lot of challenges in making that happen, but I think it would be a great pity if we missed out and I want to try to make it happen." What are the challenges Mr.Willets speaks of?Do we need more legislation? If so, can he direct somebody to draft it?Does a council have to be formed to coordinate this? Can this be done within existing structures set up as a result of the IGT report?Virgin reportedly met with the MOD to discuss this. Does Mr.Willets have to coordinate this with Liam Fox who can direct the relevant RAF sites to instigate the process of allowing space tourism?At the very least, the RAF could allow a test flight from one of their bases. They have stated an interest in mini-launchers in the past.The USA has the USAF with a space division, NASA and DARPA which have all collaborated to produce the X37 (I think) "orbital test vehicle". Britain has neither a space division of the RAF to my knowledge and does not have a DARPA equivalent although could make better use of Qinetiq, BAe arguably.Also, the LibDems have pushed for value for money on Trident. Can they not make sure that the vast amounts of money already invested as well as the future investments are overseen for spin-offs? For example, the UK has full access to a launch technology in Trident - it seems unbelievable that this can't be exploited for wider economic and social gain.It's good David Willets is interested, he's been commended for being very intelligent in the past and I hope he can commit his talents to coordinating progress on space given the vast potential the UK has in universities, aerospace industry and defence. Fri 28 May 2010 16:52:58 GMT+1 Stephen Ashworth http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=17#comment5 All this sounds good, but is a little vague. I would prefer a more specific sense of direction.The two largest future growth areas which I can see are personal space exploration (space tourism) and space solar power. Both are critically dependent upon much reduced cost to orbit and much improved frequency and reliability of launches. Britain is a world leader in the race to develop truly reusable and affordable spaceplanes that can do that, and govt support for our spaceplane companies in getting their products to the global marketplace must be our number one priority. I don't see any mention of this above.The cost of everything that we do in space is dominated by the currently anomalously high cost of getting there. Vehicle development is therefore critical to any future for us in space!StephenOxford Fri 28 May 2010 16:32:03 GMT+1 mtconleyuk http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=14#comment4 I'm sorry: 'the last administration'? This is not the United States -- at least, not yet. We don't have an Administration. We have a Government.We may be Airstrip One, but can we try to manage at least some semblance of self-respect?Aside from that, yes, getting the UK back into the space game will be a good thing. Fri 28 May 2010 15:57:08 GMT+1 Adam from Canada http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=10#comment3 Careful what you wish for UK! New space agencies and space friendly ministers sound good in practice but if they lead to more state control over space activity then how do they enhace competitiviness and create high technology jobs? Historically, the UK space sector has done rather well on the meager resources channelled by central government. My childhood space books talk of space stations on the moon and mars and the complete exploration of the solar system by 2010—where have we gone wrong? The fault does not appear to lie in a lack of public will or in an absence of technological competance, but rather in the way large beurcratic agencies have sprung up to "manage" space endevours. If the state controlled the manufacture of computers or the development of IT technology then would I be writing this email? Fri 28 May 2010 15:34:32 GMT+1 BBCLegend http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=7#comment2 It is important that a leading country such as the UK be actively involved, and contributing to space research and exploration. Advances in technology, and discoveries made in outer space could solve in the long term many of our problems. Fri 28 May 2010 14:26:35 GMT+1 smallvizier http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=3#comment1 Wait a minute - to read this article, it sounds like one sensible guy who cares about space has just been replaced by another sensible guy who likes space. Can our politicians be on the verge of getting something right?!I've got my fingers crossed that if Willetts really does intelligently build on the efforts of his predecessor, then UK Space can undergo a bit of a renaissance - however little money they have to play with. Fri 28 May 2010 14:21:00 GMT+1 callisto http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/jonathanamos/2010/05/willetts-uk-space.shtml?page=0#comment0 This is, of course, very good news on paper. From an industrial perspective, we have had so many false dawns that we are tired of watching the sunrise. The UK has a great deal to offer the global space market. In all sectors: through academia, institution, system provider and small business; we have fought above our weight for many years, in spite of diminishing national support and it is a hope that this trend can be reversed. Sadly, we have lost our indigenous industrial heavy-hitter, but the remaining UK SME's are enthusiastic, willing and able to meet many of the national 'visions' put forward by the SIG. But will they be invited?Maybe its not too late. But how many times have we said that? Fri 28 May 2010 14:06:30 GMT+1