Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Science

Rescue Mission For European Space Industry 563

Posted by timothy
from the they're-creating-more-space dept.
metz2000 writes "The New Scientist reports that the European Space Agency (ESA) has pledged hundreds of millions of Euros to guarantee its independent access to space. Europe also looks set to co-operate with the Russian Space Agency. Looks like the space industry is hotting up again. How will NASA react to this news after being the dominant space agency over the past three decades? A lot of money is going into rocket technology also; with this and the 'European version' of GPS are we heading towards a future conflict across the Atlantic?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Rescue Mission For European Space Industry

Comments Filter:
  • First! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Billly Gates (198444)
    Anyway I do not think its a conflict. Unlike the cold war there is no need to create a space race in order to improve military technology.

    Most european countries just purchase American or Russian military vehicles and weapons anyway.

    I think it would be great for nasa to work together. If the US wants to be seen as a world player they may need to increase funding to NASA and have it work with the European space agency. The russians have been great help working with Nasa and I expect the same.
    • Cooperation (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fridzappa (607143) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @04:35AM (#6113048)
      The ESA and NASA already have a history of working together. The Saturn-bound Cassini, for instance, has the ESA-designed Huygens aboard. A little competition is healthy (see the current Mars missions), but international cooperation is the only way we'll see big projects like Cassini in the future.
      • Re:Cooperation (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheCaptain (17554) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @09:14AM (#6114130)
        Actually, what makes me wonder, is why the Russian, European AND American space agencies don't work together on this stuff more - the very tone of the posting "How will NASA react?" tells me NASA probably wasn't even invited to the party. I am not saying they all need to be involved in everything each other do...but why this tone? (Making NASA sound like they are somehow in the defensive?) The tone of the writing only serves to try to foster a little mutual paranoia...rather childish actually, and certainly not helpful.

        Anyways...I thought the EU was all about international cooperation and getting along. I am glad NASA and the ESA cooperate as much as they already do...they should likely do more. I seriously doubt NASA has a problem with working with other agencies abroad...
    • Re:First! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by splateagle (557203) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @05:16AM (#6113191)
      Most european countries just purchase American or Russian military vehicles and weapons anyway.

      Pretty sweeping unsupported statement that, you might want to look at EADS [eads.com] before making any more blind assumptions there... That said I think you're missing the point.

      The first space race might have been driven by the military, but if there is to be a second race between ESA and NASA I imagine it'll most likely be driven more by developments in civil aerospace.

      Arianespace [arianespace.com] are hardly a minor global player, neither are Airbus. While admitedly they've yet to show a direct interest in space flight, they are part of EADS and given Boeing's development, it's unimaginable that Airbus hasn't got it's eye on space at some point in the future...

      As it stands the ESA have already been working with NASA and the remnants of the old soviet space agency (calling it "Russian" is confusing, since Russia is in Europe) and I expect that they'll continue doing just that, the Space Station is after all an International venture, not just an American thing.

      Race or not, this news seems to suggest that (as happened with civil aviation technology in the later years of last century,) Europe might be about to take the dominant role in Space technology now... maybe. Should be interesting anyway, and anything that drives us forward globally has to be a good thing.
      • Re:First! (Score:3, Informative)

        by dbrutus (71639)
        It may be confusing for you to call Russia's space agency Russian but you clearly haven't quite wrapped your brain around the reality of the USSR. The ESA's launch site is a french colony (french guyana) and the Russian's launch site is a former Russian colony, Kazakhstan. Russia, for the geographically challenged is both a european and asian entitiy that is the US' closest neighbor after Canada and Mexico who actually share a land border.

        Beyond that, you might want to wrap your head around the fact that t
        • actually I meant it was causing confusion for others - check a few other posts and you might see what I mean.

          As for the rest, please don't lecture me about "wrapping my head around" stuff that for all you can tell I already know much more of than you. Thanks.
  • by lingqi (577227) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @04:30AM (#6113025) Journal
    Did y'all know that China has very recently launched it's third navigational satellite [go.com], making it possible for china to use its own positional system independently of US / EU / Russia? (three is the minimum for triangulation - if you assume that the triangulated point in space is to be thrown out)

    btw, I find it so very amusing that whenever western sources refer to the chinese space program, they just HAVE to add phrase like "secret, military linked," as if NASA is completely independent of the military, or something...

    anyhoo. maybe there is still a chance for me to visit mars before I die eh? or some serious possibility of WWIII - as China and EU becomes increasingly suspicious of US... (not unwarrented or anything)

    • by Cyberdyne (104305) * on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @04:40AM (#6113070) Journal
      Did y'all know that China has very recently launched it's third navigational satellite, making it possible for china to use its own positional system independently of US / EU / Russia? (three is the minimum for triangulation - if you assume that the triangulated point in space is to be thrown out)

      You need three visible satellites for triangulation. Picture the globe, and work out where the satellites would be. Either they're geostationary, clustered over one part (which would give a crude GPS service - over one chunk of the Earth only) or they're not (in which case you can't triangulate anything from them on Earth). You might be able to use them from a lower orbit, though, for positioning satellites; all 3 equidistant GEO satellites would be visible when you're over either pole. Whatever it is, it's not [yet] a GPS rival!

      btw, I find it so very amusing that whenever western sources refer to the chinese space program, they just HAVE to add phrase like "secret, military linked," as if NASA is completely independent of the military, or something...

      It is independent of the military, actually; the Pentagon did have input in the Shuttle program early on (they wanted to be able to use it for launching and servicing/upgrading spy satellites, which can't be done with a rocket) but these days they launch their own stuff, on rockets from Lockheed Martin. (Built in what Michael Moore claimed in BFC was a "missile factory", as it happens.) NASA probably handle some stuff for the military, still, but most of it is done "in-house" using their own systems - in fact, orbital monitoring is military, with a full-time member of staff to liase with NASA and monitor the status of the Shuttle and ISS.

      • Well, since I dare say China probably has no intention of providing positioning information to anyone outside of China, three satellites is almost certainly sufficient to provide GPS-like functionality within Chinese borders.
        • since I dare say China probably has no intention of providing positioning information to anyone outside of China, three satellites is almost certainly sufficient to provide GPS-like functionality within Chinese borders.

          Positioning information within your borders is only useful for peaceful purposes, such as tracking the movements of dissidents.

          Positioning information outside of your borders is useful for diplomatic purposes, such as ensuring that your bombs hit their targets.
      • " (Built in what Michael Moore claimed in BFC was a "missile factory", as it happens.)"

        He actually refers to them as "rockets with a Pentagon payload", which is about right. There's a good chance that the kind of payload that those Titan and Atlas rockets carry is a LOT more dangerous than a Tomahawk.
        • He actually refers to them as "rockets with a Pentagon payload", which is about right. There's a good chance that the kind of payload that those Titan and Atlas rockets carry is a LOT more dangerous than a Tomahawk.

          You think a satellite is more dangerous than a large bomb?

      • It is independent of the military, actually; the Pentagon did have input in the Shuttle program early on (they wanted to be able to use it for launching and servicing/upgrading spy satellites, which can't be done with a rocket) but these days they launch their own stuff, on rockets from Lockheed Martin.

        This is yet another legal vs. de-facto status thing. Yes, NASA isn't under Pentagon jurisdiction, but consider that both NASA and Pentagon share good part of research, launch, communication and support infr
    • you would need a lot more than three for a Global positioning system the planet keeps getting in the way of the signal ;-)

      the more signals the better the resolution of the data you can get.
    • As said before you need more then three satelites for continuous coverage...

      However you need more then three satelites for a gps like system anyway...
      Unless you are going to equip every receiver with its own cesium clock you need to receive atleast four satelites at the same time.

      Jeroen
      • by lingqi (577227) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @05:16AM (#6113190) Journal
        I was always under the impression that even with three satellites, you would be able to use the GPS signal to correct your local clock.

        Few reasons for this, IIRC:

        1) all three satellites are keeping perfect time, so if your clock is off, it is very easy to compensate for.

        2) satellites transmit positional information - this can be compared with your local positional table to correct your local time

        Besides the point - since details are sketchy, they might even be using dual-band per satellite to compensate for atmospheric delay errors.

        Of course, i might be talking out of my ass - so if you have evidence backing up what you say, prove me wrong.
        • by pe1rxq (141710) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @05:29AM (#6113232) Homepage Journal
          Its not that hard:

          Suppose you have a bunch of satelites transmitting time and their location. When you receive that you know were that satelite was at that moment.

          Suppose you have also have a good clock, and you receive one satelite. In that case you can calculate the distance between you and the satelite (time difference between the two clocks multiplied by the speed of the radio signal, ignoring atmospheric influences for simplicity).
          No you know that your position is somewhere on a sphere around this satelite.

          When you receive two satelites you get two intersecting spheres. Two intersection spheres gives a circle of common points. So now you know that your position is somewhere on this circle.

          With a third satelite you get a two (unless you are in space exactly in between three satelites) intersect point. So now you now your exact position since one can easily be ruled out. (Unless you ARE in space ofcourse)

          But this only works if you have an accurate (as in atomic clock accurate) clock.
          If your clock is a litle bit behind the calculated distance between you and ALL three satelites becomes larger and you have no way of knowing it did. (Your still get one singular intercept point).

          If you have three satelites and a questionable clock all you know is that you are on a line intersecting the two points I mentioned earlier.

          With four satelites you can make several groups of three satelites (three groups to be exact) resulting in three of such lines.
          Were these three lines intersect is the point you are. (This method also rules out you accidently thinking you are in space btw)
          With this point you can adjust your own clock...

          Jeroen
    • >btw, I find it so very amusing that whenever western sources refer to the chinese space program, they just HAVE to add phrase like "secret, military linked," as if NASA is completely independent of the military, or something...

      That is similar to certain presidents always mentioning "weapons of mass destruction" linked to certain countries, while having stockpiles of those in their own yard...
      (even more amusing when they fail to come up with evidence about them)
  • Hmmm, Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SkArcher (676201) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @04:30AM (#6113027) Journal
    With the current problems in the US space program, it may be that the newly fixed Arianne launch system can claim a significant share of the market.

    It is important to remember that Arianne is also somewhat cheaper than the Shuttle for any given weight of payload - the shuttles main advantage is that its live crew (which is the reason for the higher cost) can perform and regulate scientific tests.

    I await the next Arianne launch with baited breath.
    • The smaller arianne rockets are cheaper to launch than almost any other platform. Unfortunatly the new larger varient is more expensive as it keeps blowing up :-(

    • Re:Hmmm, Interesting (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anspen (673098)

      With the current problems in the US space program, it may be that the newly fixed Arianne launch system can claim a significant share of the market.

      Arianespace already has a significant share of the market (~40-50%) and has had so for years.

      Up until recently one of the main reasons it didn't have a bigger share was the requirement that US satellites to be launched with US launchers.

      The new Ariane-5 series however is more expensive, and it could take awhile until optimization has it back to the com

  • Heavy lifters (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bombula (670389) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @04:32AM (#6113033)
    We've seen many articles we've recently about space, including the recent Shuttle tragedy and the successful launch of the Mars Express, as well as the X-prize. Throughout, I continue to see an emphasis on the importance of reusable equipment. Can someone give a comprehensive explanation for why lifting technology needs to be reusable?

    It seems like 30 years ago we did pretty well with expendable rockets. Since each shuttle mission costs hundreds of millions, is it really worth it? Why not invest in the development of a 'cheap' single-use lifting technology, like a successor for Soyuz? Even if each rocket cost $100 million wouldn't it still save lots of money, and wouldn't it mean much larger payloads could be delivered?

    • Re:Heavy lifters (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SkArcher (676201) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @04:44AM (#6113084) Journal
      Yes and no. The idea behind the shuttle was to save on having to build an entirely new launch vehicle every time you wanted to put a payload into orbit.

      Unfortuanately, the shuttle program was based on some incorrect assumptions. First, it was assumed that their cost predictions for the shuttle would be accurate (they weren't, it costs far more per launch than predicted) and secondly, the increase in payloads wanting taking to orbit wasn't predicted (there was a massive increase, IIRC)

      In theory, reusables are cheaper, but in the short term the throw away option works better.

      What would make throw away rockets even cheaper is a dual use philosophy of design, allowing the entire rocket (or a lot of it at least) to reach orbit, where it could be reused to form parts for orbiting storage or some such (after all, these are generally allready presurized tanks, so they will be airtight in orbit)
      • Re:Heavy lifters (Score:3, Informative)

        by WindBourne (631190)
        Well, everybody likes to use the shuttle as an example of an inexpensive reuseable system, but it was botched from the git-go. Nixon's ppl, and NASA, outright lied about costs and incomes. Worse still, Nixon cut the funding further to which nasa simply put into place more disposable systems which now add higher costs. The shuttle is not a good example of a reuseable system. The way that NASA wanted to do the original shuttle is the way that rutan is doing it. 2 parts with one peice being a jet and the final
        • Re:Heavy lifters (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @09:40AM (#6114325) Homepage Journal
          Yep. My father, who also worked on Apollo (yes, Daddy really did send men to the Moon -- decades later, I still get a little-kid jolt out of that idea), Skylab, and Viking, left the aerospace industry in disgust during the early stages of the Shuttle program. He said it was heartbreaking how things kept getting scaled down; the engineers knew the administration was being penny-wise and pound-foolish, but they couldn't do anything about it.
    • Re:Heavy lifters (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Stuntmonkey (557875)

      On an economic basis there is no justification for reusable vehicles. Launch costs today are dominated by the cost of the ground crew (thousands of people are needed to maintain and launch the shuttle). The best way to reduce costs is to simplify ground operations as much as possible. Reusable vehicles don't do this, in fact they do the opposite.

      If the world were run by rational people, there would be two primary vehicles: (1) A heavy-lifting, single-use, less reliable unmanned system for cargo, and

    • Re:Heavy lifters (Score:5, Insightful)

      by johannesg (664142) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @06:48AM (#6113472)
      Reusables basically provide a service that is not much in demand: returning goods from orbit down to Earth. If you take that away you are left with a very simple requirement: returning astronauts. There is a good, tried and tested way of doing that: capsules. A capsule is cheap to build and cheap to launch.

      When you have capsules, you do not need to to launch wings, control mechanisms, and all the other bits that make up an airplane into orbit. That saves a huge amount of weight. The saved weight can be "spent" in two ways: cheaper rockets and larger payloads.

      The cost advantage of cheaper rockets (i.e. Soyuz) over a shuttle is obvious (something like a factor 20 or so).

      The cost advantage of larger payloads is also obvious: all of your energy is used lifting stuff that actually needs to be in space, rather than used to return safely to Earth. A shuttle launch assembly minus the shuttle (instead imagine a huge cargo container in its place) would have phenomenal lifting power; in fact, the Russian equivalent of this, Energia, could have launched the entire weight of ISS in just three launches! That would have saved a few hundred billion dollars.

      So stop thinking of the shuttle as a "cool space plane", and instead consider it to be a highly over-engineered, *heavy* method of returning to Earth.

      So what is the problem with this? I guess it has to do with NASA being afraid to lose face, which seems inevitable when they give up on the shuttle and return to expendable launchers.

      Here's what I believe the various space agencies should do to replace the shuttle:

      - Develop an expendable launcher that can lift *really heavy* items into a useful orbit (which can be ISS orbit, geostationary, or some escape orbit). Russia's Energia would be a good starting point, as would the shuttle launch stack (they are related anyway). This would be the heavy workhorse for orbital construction.

      - Develop an expendable launcher that can lift people to that same orbit. Put a capsule on it in which people can travel comfortably and safely during the entire trip - i.e. it is fine to overengineer a bit, since it will one day safe lives. Use that just for people.

      - Want to do something in orbit? Put your equipment on a big launcher (together with a lot of other stuff), and put your people on a small, safe launcher. The big launcher delivers to ISS (or some other orbital facility - constructing them will be cheap with this model), where the resident astronauts can install and operate it.

      • Re:Heavy lifters (Score:5, Informative)

        by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @07:23AM (#6113590)
        - Develop an expendable launcher that can lift *really heavy* items into a useful orbit (which can be ISS orbit, geostationary, or some escape orbit). Russia's Energia would be a good starting point, as would the shuttle launch stack (they are related anyway). This would be the heavy workhorse for orbital construction.

        NASA are considering cloning the Energia: it's called Magnum [space.com].

        Why they don't just use Energia itself I don't know... probably politics.

    • Re:Heavy lifters (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ex-MislTech (557759)
      They want to get the cost per kilogram/pound down .

      They want to launch more often, and this idea
      will get them clear of the air traffic lanes .

      Just position this out over the pacific high
      above any storm systems reach .

      I think a high altitude rail gun platform would work
      nicely to get cargo into space .

      It would not work for ppl, as it would pull so many G's
      it would kill them .

      Some tested rail guns have hit Mach 120+ in the low earth
      atmosphere with all its friction .

      At 160,000 feet using high altitude bal
    • Re:Heavy lifters (Score:4, Informative)

      by tinrobot (314936) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @07:17AM (#6113564)
      The shuttle is only partly reusable. The external tank burns up and the solid boosters need to be towed back from sea and retrofitted. Plus, the trip tears up the shuttle itself. It takes months to turn one around after a launch. That adds a lot of cost.

      Disposable rockets dispose of, well, the rocket. That is also not a trivial expense. Imagine throwing away your car every time you took a trip. Gets kinda expensive, even if you buy really cheap cars.

      In a truly reusable system, the only costs would be fuel and maintenance. It would be more like an aircraft than a car in terms of maintenance, but it would still be significantly cheaper. Inventing something like that is very expensive, but by amortizing it over many vehicles and many launches, it would make space much more acessible.
  • by itchyfidget (581616) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @04:32AM (#6113034) Journal
    ... then surely it would be an advantage for the stricken space-program to have the other party to fall back on?

    I'm thinking particularly of in-space rescues where the other program may have the resources ready to launch a rescue-mission, but there are probably other scenarios from which both NASA and ESA would benefit.

    Plus, competition will mean that the science thrives, particularly in the current political climate (don't kid yourself - the US and Europe are *not* friends right now).
    • (don't kid yourself - the US and Europe are *not* friends right now)

      Well I'm still friends with my pals who have US passports so there are some exceptions :-))

      Seriously though this kind of simplistic statement is the sort of thing politicians come out with - come on! I'd guess that away from the politicans, most of the scientific and business community are getting on just fine, trading research and business just as they ever have done. Few influential organisations or research teams are bounded alon

  • Timely (Score:5, Informative)

    by akadruid (606405) * <slashdot@@@thedruid...co...uk> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @04:33AM (#6113037) Homepage
    The New Scientist report is both inaccurate and out of date.
    A more timely report was published last week at the BBC [bbc.co.uk].
    All the same, this is a very interesting move for the ESA, and for Europe. A challenging move here could well help our efforts towards a more united Europe.
    This is a rare 'carrot' for UK residents, more used the threat of monetory union and other unpleasent symptoms of a united Europe.
    • by K. (10774)
      You don't have to start using the Euro, you know, you can always just stay dollar-linked. After all, why would you need control over your own currency? I'm sure the US will look out for your interests when things get tough, just like they did for Argentina.
    • Re:Timely (Score:3, Insightful)

      by den_erpel (140080)

      This is a rare 'carrot' for UK residents, more used the threat of monetory union and other unpleasent symptoms of a united Europe.

      I think you should get off your Island more often, monetory union is hardly an unpleasent symptom as we experience it. Most Europeans in the Euro zone, that are not confined to their 20 square kilometers around their homes, would not want to go back to the pre-Euro aera.

      Most of the ppl I know, just shop around in different contries (e.g. for electronics), because prices are

    • Re:Timely (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pubjames (468013) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @07:36AM (#6113637)
      This is a rare 'carrot' for UK residents, more used the threat of monetory union and other unpleasent symptoms of a united Europe.

      Unpleasent? You obviously don't travel or trade between European countries often.

      Here's a hint. 75% of the press in the UK is owned by three men. Those three men are anti-europe, and are using their control over the UK press to sway public opinion away from Europe. If you read The Sun, The Telegraph, The Times or The Daily Mirror (amongst others) then be aware that they have an agenda to feed you with negative propaganda about Europe. As a UK citizen who now spends most of his time "in Europe" I must say that my previous (and in retrospect naive) view of England as having an quality, open and honest press has changed considerably over the last five years. It is dishonest and manipulative. Don't fall for it.
  • Good news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by anagama (611277)
    I say more power to 'em. Something has to get the US off it's fat ass, and if it won't, someone else needs to carry the torch of science and progress into space.

    I say this as a US citizen BTW.
    • I say this as a US citizen BTW

      Be careful of what you say in public dude.

    • I say this as a US citizen BTW.

      Not any more. We here at the dept of homeland security would like to inform you you have 24hrs to relocate your self to camp delta. You are now classifed as an enemy combatant after your unpatriotic remarks on /.
  • After reading recent stories here on /. about Chinese interests in building a moon base and extracting resources, I wonder what are Europe's space program's primary goals? Are they interested mostly in hard science stuff? Or are they creating and building up an entirely new kind of space industry? Perhaps what I really want to know is, when do the orbiting space hotels go up? :)
  • by stoborrobots (577882) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @04:35AM (#6113049)
    This may just be a good thing for the space industry in general...

    Didn't the really great advances in space travel come about because of the intellectual battle between the US and the Soviet Union?

    If the ESA starts making inroads into space research and NASA wants to keep its top position, it will be forced to become really competitive, and this might mean that we will see missions which *succeed*!!!

    Or we may just see more missions, with more cut corners... :-(

    • Didn't the really great advances in space travel come about because of the intellectual battle between the US and the Soviet Union?

      It was not, and never was, an intellectual battle. Both sides sought to intimidate the other, and gain influence amongst the non-aligned states, through demonstrations of superior national will and technology.

      If the ESA starts making inroads into space research and NASA wants to keep its top position, it will be forced to become really competitive

      Not at all. There's no con
  • No Space War (Score:3, Informative)

    by sparkes (125299) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @04:38AM (#6113060) Homepage Journal
    I don't think we are heading for a new cold war europeans have been in space for years.

    The problems are the funding (and this is what is being discussed in the article) To the best of my knowledge all the worlds space agencies are losing money. Currently the only way they make money (apart from ever reducing government grants) is by launching comercial cargo. This is why there is so much crap up their in orbit.

    We need to limit the amount of commerical launches or we risk ruining space for the next few generations. If this extra money means less satilites are launched for companies that will go bust before they are ever used then it is good money. But if the money is going to be used to subsidise the launches of this type of cargo then it good money after bad.

    The reason for a euro GPS system is also commercial. You need to be a partner of the US government to get full access to GPS data at the highest resolution. The euro GPS will sell to those companies that want to make use of accurate GPS data but can't (or are unwilling to attempt) to get the US government to play ball. This is both a good and bad thing. If access to accurate GPS helps governments and companies develop and help local peoples then it is a good idea but I personally think the data will be used by robber oil barons and weapons manufacturers making the current situations even worse for the average man on the streets.
    • Non military GPS is already +/- 1 meter, isn't it?

      I'm not sure what "robber oil barons" are, or how they're supposed to gain from a greater resolution than said 1 meter. Seeing that you're from the UK, might you be talking about Norway and their presence in the North Sea?

      If weapons manufacturers were to make GPS guided missiles with higher accuracy, then so what? Haven't you learned anthing from CNN the last ten years? "Surgical precision bombing saves civillian lives". Now, why the US is claiming to use

    • We need to limit the amount of commerical launches or we risk ruining space for the next few generations. If this extra money means less satilites are launched for companies that will go bust before they are ever used then it is good money.

      No, it'll just mean garbage collection vehicles will be needed sooner or later.

      This will probably be needed anyway as an increasing number of manned vehicles and orbiting space stations go into orbit. There's junk up there dating from the earliest Soviet Union programs.

  • .. ? Its not very effective to compete in a field like shooting stuff to mars .. if they could work together, theyll have more advantages, than disadvantages .. look @ the ISS -
    of course I know its mainly driven by the U.S. - but I think it works out fine if they combine their knowhow and money.

    And at leat it would be a bad idea if just the U.S. would settle at the mars ..
  • by jazman (9111) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @04:40AM (#6113069)
    Um, so what you're saying is that when America does space stuff, it's good for the world, but when Europe does space stuff, that's "conflict across the Atlantic?" How's that work then?

    Not intending to troll but that "conflict" thing does seem like an odd conclusion. Are Europeans now terrorists? How about a bit more reasoning, rather than just saying "Europe? Space? WAR!!!!!"
    • by sparkes (125299) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @04:45AM (#6113088) Homepage Journal
      You know what they say behind every Bush is a terrorist these days ;-)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @05:00AM (#6113142)
      We (those of us in the USA) have gotten jaded ever since the Cold War ended and now expect the rest of the world to just follow along and pick up the crumbs we leave behind.

      Heaven forbid anyone else should dare to lead (or try to lead) in any particular sector of industry...or in anything for that matter!!!

      Not really I suppose but that's how it seems and the maintainers of Slashdot appear to think that way too...it is just sooo much easier to have a closed mind.

      Off topic-ish but I'm personally getting tired of so much nationalism and the relentless need by everyone to overtly and aggressively demonstrate their religious, nationalistic or philosophic identity at the drop of a hat.

      I dread next year's Olympics...:(

    • by 73939133 (676561) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @07:43AM (#6113667)
      Not intending to troll but that "conflict" thing does seem like an odd conclusion. Are Europeans now terrorists?

      I think the problem is that Americans like to think of themselves as the most powerful nation on earth and have gotten used to being first in everything. But, objectively, the US is a mid-size nation with an economy that is in deep trouble ($3 trillion in foreign debt and growing rapidly), that depends on skilled immigration for its competitiveness, and that faces enormous inequalities and social problems. The preeminent role of the US was an artifact of the aftermath of WWII. Now that Europe is pretty close to a federation and that China and India have caught up technologically, America becomes merely one among several large players, and not the biggest or most important one.

      The only area where the US is clearly first is in military spending. But that really worries foreign nations. What is the US going to do when (and it's "when", not "if") foreign investments slow down, the dollar crumbles, skilled workers stay away, and the economy falters? Is it going to dismantle its military and quietly accept being a second-rate player on the world stage? Or is the US going to try to get by force what it won't be able to get by other means? Using the US military for economic reasons has happened before.

      It is completely natural for European and Asian space programs, which represent larger populations and economies, to surpass the US programs. This is only the beginning of many changes. The question is whether Americans can get used to it.
      • But, objectively, the US is a mid-size nation with an economy that is in deep trouble ($3 trillion in foreign debt and growing rapidly), that depends on skilled immigration for its competitiveness, and that faces enormous inequalities and social problems.

        Um, what? The United States alone had a GDP of $10 trillion in 2001, compared to $7.8 trillion for the entire EU -- and an apples-to-apples comparison would measure the EU against NAFTA. The EU is approaching self-imposed limits on its geographic expa

        • America's dominance is not a passing phase that started with WWII and ended on 9/11

          The beginning of the decline probably was some time in the 1980's when the US started going into debt more and more (see here [epinet.org]). Ultimately, the whole idea of "America" itself becomes fuzzy, when a significant fraction of its assets are foreign-owned.

          I think 9/11 is mostly irrelevant to the long term position of the US in the world. If anything, it has harmed US power because of Bush's foreign policy blunders.

          and an app
  • by [cx] (181186)
    As in any market competition encourages the other competitors to step up the pace to beat out the latest and greatest from their foes. This is really the birth of the space race, as privatized sectors will probably get more funding than NASA these days. Lots of rich people are ignorant and very interested towards space (NSYNC Member Lance Bass) and they have the money to power their dreams. These companies will open more gateways into space and will further technology on planet Earth, Luna (The moon) and M
  • "Competition" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jhan (542783)

    <mood type="foul">

    ESA and the russians aren't much competition right now... On the other hand neither is NASA, what with the Columbia debacle which will probably lead to a permanent moth-balling of the remaing orbiters.

    The russians will just keep cranking out 1960's era craft until the factories break down. Nothing wrong with 60's rockets, but we need to have modern designs and materials if we're going to lower the cost of space access.

    ESA is at least trying to develop new technology. Witness the

    • Re:"Competition" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by WolfWithoutAClause (162946) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @05:18AM (#6113198) Homepage
      ESA and the russians aren't much competition right now...

      Well, Arianespace owns most of the GEO satellite market where most commercial space launches go, and American launchers only launch vehicles that can't go on Ariane for one reason or another, so I don't really agree.

      The russians will just keep cranking out 1960's era craft until the factories break down. Nothing wrong with 60's rockets, but we need to have modern designs and materials if we're going to lower the cost of space access.

      Interestingly, the Russian hardware is cheaper than the Americans, even when you account for the lower wages in America. This is evidence that higher technology is not the answer and may well be counterproductive. The only trick that is needed for cheap space is to launch. Launch often. Launch really often. Economies of scale are bigger than every other known trick for reducing the cost of space, even put together. Of course the Russians use mass production techniques to build their rockets.

  • paranoid? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xyr0 (678756) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @05:17AM (#6113195)
    well, its really funny that some ppl might think that a space mission to mars will trigger a new cold war + even a real war. hmmm ... as far as im informed the ESA and NASA have been working together in numerous missions before with everyone depending on each other. the problem was that sometimes the europeans were only allowed to play the passengers and didnt get the science information first hand. some also mentioned the european gps system. it was started because the normal gps could be turned off at any place by the US military. so the european one is more like consumer-orientated (and not wobbling :). and the russians and chinese also have their gps system. but on the whole i think that a little competition is never bad. but why does this sort of thing upset some ppl? afraid of a multipolar world (that some governor doesnt want). oh man!
  • by kimmo (52756) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @05:24AM (#6113220) Homepage
    >
    > "...are we heading towards a future conflict across the Atlantic?"
    >

    What kind of conflict do you mean, and what might cause it because Europe develops some tehcnological abilities of it's own?

    Does the US feel somehow threatened when it doesn't have a monopoly on many kinds of stuff anymore? Does it have a reason to be afraid in that case?

    "Hey, i'm growing potatoes, you must not research the hoe technology (because then i would lose the monopoly on producing and selling these artificially degraded and overpriced potatoes to whom i wish, whenever it might suit my needs).."

  • china, India, Japan, EU, even North Korea are massively getting into space thanx largely to the research and development efforts of Russia and USA. But Russia is near bankruptcy, and we are heading that way all the time. One nice affect of outrageous deficits is that we will be forced to cut back NASA, which will propel private enterprise into at least leo(hopefully more). Who knows, that may allow NASA to finally expand into moving to Mars, Moon, and further.

    Personally, I am in hopes that EU will start h
  • by Logopop (234246) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @05:28AM (#6113229)
    First of all, I see no future 'conflict'. There are many players here besider the US, and the International Space Station shows us that we have no problems besides technical to cooperate when it comes to space exploration (except maybe Russian funding). Both the Chinese and the Japanese have programs with great momentum.
    The system redundancy argument is a good one. I am sure that there's a lot of obscure politics involved, but technically speaking I am looking forward to being able to utilize a GPS receiver that can correlate the results from two independent systems. There were receivers that did that with GLONASS, I don't know if that system is still operable.
    Competition is of course good, however I think that the potential for commercial competition is fairly slim for the time being due to the high cost of anything space related and that you can't 'claim' resources in space like you do on earth (AFAIK).
    All in all - the more people/equipment/systems we can bring out into space, the easier it will be to colaborate and go 'where no man has gone before'. Manned mission to Mars, anyone?

    -Kris
  • by LeoDV (653216) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @05:39AM (#6113260) Journal
    If I remember correcty, the ESA are the only ones actually making money from space with their Ariane program. If you ask me, the dominant agency has been ESA for a long time. And before that it was Russia.

    I'd like to remind you of the fact that even though NASA is very glad to have won the race to the moon, there was no such thing. Instead of going there and back, the Russians put Mir in orbit, which is a more useful and lasting feat than putting a flag on the moon.
  • Some prospective (Score:5, Informative)

    by Eminence (225397) <akbrandt&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @05:43AM (#6113275) Homepage

    They said they would put "over 1 billion euros" on that. What about some prospective? ESA's [esa.int] budget for 2002 was around 2,8 bn euros. With this sort of money for last four years they were able to put together a mission to Mars - and that's about it. NASA's budget [nasa.gov] is around 15 bn Euros and it is barely enough to keep the Shuttle fleet flying and make around two scientific missions a year (look for example at the state US Mars exploration is in). And that is not all the money US spends on space - there is also DoD budget.

    A single Ariane 5 launch costs around $150 M which is roughly $140 MEuros, so this is good for around ten launches. Proton and Soyuz are cheaper - $80M and $40M respectively. (a table of launch vehicles costs [spaceref.com]). But of course this money won't be spent directly on launches, you have to have something to launch first.

    Europe's space program has been so far driven mostly by France and to some extent Britain. Others were just interested, but with no real substance. All projects of manned missions were dropped along the way (and there were a few - a small shuttle designed by French that was supposed to be Ariane's payload - I forgot the name, German SSTO Sanger plane and similar British project). As a result Europe has no experience in building manned spacecraft - unless they would get it from Russians. I'm afraid that 1 bn Euros won't be enough to put together a manned mission unless it would be just flying Russian spacecrafts with Europe's yellow stars logo painted on them.

    If Europe would spend this money on building a GPS-like system, then 1 bn Euros is a significant amount, however again not enough to build the system - and keep it running (Russians build one to guide their warheads but couldn't afford to keep it up).

    What is most likely however is that this money won't be spent on a single mission or project. As the article says this money would be "pumped into the sector to overhaul its manufacturing and marketing programmes". It means that it would be divided into many small donations to various projects just to keep the industry afloat. So it is nice, but is far from enough if Europe really wants to be a player in the Space Race.

    And - BTW - Deutsche Telekom's loss [guardian.co.uk] for 2002 was "over" 24 billion euros.

    • Re:Some perspective (Score:3, Interesting)

      by splateagle (557203)
      1: I think you mean perspective not prospective

      2: The "Space Race" was little more than a cold war pissing contest, and It ended decades ago.

      3: The ESA is already very much "a player" in space: for one thing it's the market leader in commercial satelite launches, and for another it's one of the few agencies with an active launch vehicle development programme (unlike NASA for example).
    • by flyingdisc (598575) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @06:45AM (#6113460)

      It's not true that ESA is primarily a French project with some British involvement. The ESA funding comes from most of the primary participants, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Denmark etc. The French contribute a large chunk of the funding but they also have a large role with their government funded labs working on research which compliments the ESA work which enhances their role in european space science. The British on the other hand pay propotionally much less than the other european partners (do you see a pattern here). British institutions will bid for research areas much like other european institutes but they don't contribute as much to the centralised european fund (ESA).

      The lander on the current mars mission is British built - but not really as a ESA project. It was cobbled together from research funding from various british university and research labs for an obscenly small sum of money. (relative to the other lander projects) - an will be a real coupe if the scientific payload pays off.

      A single Ariane 5 launch costs around $150 M which is roughly $140 MEuros, so this is good for around ten launches. Proton and Soyuz are cheaper - $80M and $40M respectively. (a table of launch vehicles costs). But of course this money won't be spent directly on launches, you have to have something to launch first.

      ESA have just announced that they intend to offer Soyuz launch vehicals from the european launch site in south america. This is partly intended to bring the cost of launch down and partly to provide a small load, reliable launch vehical which fills a gap for payloads smaller than the Ariane lifters. Ariane is designed for much larger payloads - taking 2 or 3 instruments up at a time. The newest Ariane (before it's recent suspension) could lift nearly 10 tons - making the largest active lifter.

      I don't think that europe is or will want a european space race. Europe should be able instigate and push some interesting projects in the next 10 years (venus express, rossetta etc) but most of these missions (if not all) are hugely collaborative and involve US, Canadian, European, Japanese, Russian and Chinese participants. The time when any individual agency wanted to go it alone are long gone.

  • by alizard (107678) <alizard@noSpAM.ecis.com> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @05:56AM (#6113314) Homepage
    was originally invented for military / aerospace.

    For quite a few years, the military / aerospace sector has basically been building on electronic and computer technology developed for the private consumer sector.

    Perhaps it's time for another driver for new technology to show up on the market. Especially given the increasingly successful attempt to suppress new consumer technology by the *AA (RIAA/MPAA) organizations.

  • by Mentorix (620009) <slashdot@benben.com> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @06:09AM (#6113351)
    If I remember correctly ESA is already both marketleader launching commercial sattelites AND making money while doing it. The biggest threat to ESA's position right now is not NASA but country's like China and India.

    That's what happens when you keep launching something that was designed over 30 years ago and never reached it's design goals, like for example being a reusable vehicle(!). The current space "shuttle" is more like a pod sitting on top a big rocket that can land by itself. Almost everything else needs to be build again.
  • by spakka (606417) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @06:19AM (#6113375)
    Europe should simply wait a generation or two until creationist christians have complete control of the US government and education system. When the entire US public believes the sky to be an inverted bowl suspended over a flat earth, it will be safe to resume space travel.
  • by nozpamming (664873) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @06:21AM (#6113384)
    See if I can contribute some bits to this topic:

    First of all both the EU and Russia are highly succesful in the launching business. The Ariane 4 was at one point responsible for over 40% of all commercial launches and still is very successful. The Ariana 5 has seen some significant setbacks with all those errors but still is (will be) a very competitive launcher. The russian launchers, while based on sixties technology have been refined and re-engineered to an enormous ammount for decades and were and still are very competitive. For most commercial apps the shuttle program is outrageously expensive and even the US itself relies on convential rockets (which they also make of course) for many launches. Another problem in general for the US, and more limited for the EU, is that the international space station is costing a lot more than expected (nuttin'new, right?) and this is affecting other projects. This problem is even larger due to the fact that -for now- we need the shuttle as a servicing vehicle for the ISS

    Now for those GPS systems: first of all to clear that bit up: you need a few dozen to make sure always at least three (but better four or five) are visible everywhere on earth (except usually the poles due to orbit mechanics) for triangulation methods. Second of all Europe is not happy with the position the military takes in the GPS system of the US: we saw this many times with both Gulf wars that the US decided to downgrade the system accuracy for everyone but themselves (the military that is). In general people are a bit tired of the US policy to foreign countries with the change from Clinton to Bush (I don't want to take sides on the last war in this comment but in general popularity and support of the US bombed in the EU recently (as in from 60% to 25%), even in the normally pro-US United Kingdom). The military funding of many system in the US is what makes the EU sometimes a bit scared and makes it want to develop its own system, and the anti-US feelings in the population make these kind of projects a lot easier to get funded. Now, wether or not we need another system if another question but it takes time to launch so many sattelites for a new GPS system, so China is still busy get everything up there, as it will also take Europe time to fully deploy. Even more, if the US and the EU can/want work together these GPS system can also complement eachother.
  • by dackroyd (468778) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @06:28AM (#6113404) Homepage
    Tragically we know how the US would like to react:

    http://www.eetimes.com/sys/news/OEG20030522S0050 [eetimes.com]

    The nation's largest intelligence agency by budget and in control of all U.S. spy satellites, NRO is talking openly with the U.S. Air Force Space Command about actively denying the use of space for intelligence purposes to any other nation at any time--not just adversaries, but even longtime allies, according to NRO director Peter Teets.

    At the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs in early April, Teets proposed that U.S. resources from military, civilian and commercial satellites be combined to provide "persistence in total situational awareness, for the benefit of this nation's war fighters." If allies don't like the new paradigm of space dominance, said Air Force secretary James Roche, they'll just have to learn to accept it. The allies, he told the symposium, will have "no veto power."


    This would not go down to well at all. I know the US economy/military is the biggest in the world - but I still think that a trade war/shooting war with every other country in the world isn't the best way of improving the lives of American citizens.
    • denying the use of space for intelligence purposes to any other nation at any time

      Why do you think it is tragic? It is just another incentive for other nations (especially EU) to put more funds into their space programs. This is actually good news for whole humanity.

      Space dominance with no challengers means stagnation (as we all see from the state US space program is in), competition, space race means progress. That's the way it goes with us, humans.

  • How will NASA react to this news after being the dominant space agency over the past three decades?

    Do you really mean that Soviet space programme in early 70's was incomparable with the one of NASA, in terms of launches, manned flights, interpanetary missions or deployed satellites?
  • by Ex-MislTech (557759) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @06:42AM (#6113446)
    For many years the military and other agencies have been looking to
    put payload in space with a rail gun as a launchor assisted launch .
    A variation on that theme would be a high altitude platform using
    something like www.21stcenturyairships.com to lift the cargo to
    near 100,000 ft , then use the rail gun to kick start it and if a
    heavy payload fire a booster as well . The first 20 miles of flight would be eliminated .
    A series of MANY of these balloons could be used to hold the launch
    platform up and the tremendous cargo .
    If you run it all with remote control robots, you do not need
    to worry about life support systems on the launching pad .
    Also you use remote control robots to build your space station,
    and do your repairs up in space .
    Solar power in space is not filtered by the earth's atmosphere,
    there is ALOT more watts per sq. meter up there .
    Imagine the work that could be done with no need for food and
    water, no need for atmosphere , and protected enclosure for the
    repair robots .
    If the chinese are smart when they go to build their base on the
    moon they will start it out unmanned and built by robots ,
    the logistics are just SOOOO much cheaper than trying to keep
    humans alive and sane in deep space .
    Once they have a large Teraformed cavern underground on the moon
    then test it for problems over a period of time , with redundant
    systems and escape pod like rescue vehicles . Test it with robots .
    The majority of the moon base being underground would be shielded
    against meteors , and cosmic radiation .
    The dark side of the moon could be used to acquire cooling for
    machinery and computers, etc etc .
    The light side could be used for a permanent solar farm .
    Robots coming back and plugging into the grid when they get
    low or redundant battery packs get switched out by battery
    serving bots that change one pack at a time and every robot
    has two or three, lol .
    Once we get a moon base, we have a MUCH cheaper launching
    platform than the earth . Less Gravity, no atmosphere
    burning you up , and no wind shear .
    Then wash, rinse and repeat for mars, pretty simple plan and
    we have already sent a tiny robot there .
    Just send a larger one and start rail gunning cargo from the
    moon base , the cargo goes into orbit around mars and is picked
    up by the space station there and then sent down to the surface
    by the bouncing ball airbag method used by path finder .
    The airbag material can be saved and reused for other needs
    once humans arrive once the base is built and safely tested .
    Once again an underground base using the heat from the core of
    mars would keep the underground base somewhat liveable .
    Solar power on mars would not be that good, would need an
    alternative like geo-thermal .
    For safety reasons the drilling should be a great distance from
    the mars base in case a geological problem is let loose similar
    to a kick experienced when drilling here in north america .
    Run the geo thermal power plant with robots, and have it
    beyond a ridge or mountain to protect the colony from
    any possible disasters .
    A large low light garden would be needed to turn CO2 into O@
    to breathe , and provide food , enriched soil with bacteria
    would have to be sent to the moon and mars .
    How mars bacteria and earth bacteria interact could be dangerous,
    another reason to test it with robots for some time .
    The big dig in boston has made underground earth works much
    cheaper, this tech would be perfect for mars, just implementing
    it all the distance aways would be VERY hard .
    Due to delay a LARGE space ship/station would need to be built
    in orbit best from the moon base, then travel to mars
    and ppl could remote control the mars robots from orbit .

    Ok I am really rambling here ... my apologies ...

    Peace,
    Ex-MislTech

  • A Big Circle (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Cackmobile (182667)
    Its amazing that the leadership of space has finally returned to Europe. Seeing the Germans started in all. As we all know the Americans and Russians all had German scientists at the beginning of their programs. Maybe the Germans should get heavily involved, then we would get to Mars and where ever else we want. They do generally have the best technology. Get BMW/Mercedes to build the rockets.
  • Conflict (Score:3, Insightful)

    by theolein (316044) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @09:00AM (#6114034) Journal
    The relations were shown to be not as convivial as as some had hoped in the Iraq war. But to think it started there is naive. The idea of a European military initiative has been a thorn in the side of US military for some years now, and the US was opposed to the Gallileo system as well. While the US might try to increase other countries dependance on the US, a lot of countries have seen that this is not necessarily in their own best interests.

    The EU is not alone in this kind of thinking, India also tries to minimise it's dependance on the US, as does China.
  • by Fefe (6964) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @09:00AM (#6114036) Homepage
    The USA has repeatedly threatened to use their GPS monopoly to deny service to people they don't like. Here is one story from 2001:

    wired: U.S. Could Deny GPS To Taliban [wired.com]

    The international fear and uncertainty has become so large that the Pentagon even feld compelled to say they wouldn't enact a global GPS blackout during war time. This is obviously a completely unbearable situation for anyone besides the US government. Here is a link:

    Reuters: Pentagon pledges 'no global GPS blackout' [yahoo.com]

    I don't know what happened to the Russian space positioning system that was once discussed as alternative, but the European Union is completely right in that they think they have to create an alternative to GPS. Even more puzzling is the fierceness with which the USA have tried to stop Galileo (why would they do that if not to leverage their monopoly pressure?). Here is a satnews.com story about it:

    EU Postpones Decision on Galileo System Until 2002 [satnews.com]

    The argument of the US government against Galileo was that it "could be abused by future enemies". So you can see how the US government is using GPS to pressure others. It is very important to create an alternative to GPS, even if it's just to stop the US from bullying other nations.

    So much about Galileo, but what about other reasons for a non-US space program? I think one of the most dramatic display of bullying ever to be seen by any government is what the US government semi-openly discussed according to a Reuters story this February: to deny other nations access to space:

    U.S. Pentagon Sees Space as Military 'High Ground' [go.com]

    If any sovereign nation sees something like this, it is obvious that a big space program besides the US one is absolutely necessary. The USA have proven time and again that they are a very volatile friend who on a whim decides to deny their resources to their friends.

    There was one well documented case in the Bosnian war that is quite telling. The US vehemently denied ground troops and any real war involvement of theirs in Bosnia, on the grounds that Clinton thought his political career would be over of pictures of dead soldiers arrived home. So the role of the USA was mostly reconnaissance and intelligence and they did help keeping the air space empty. However, it later turned out that they gave weapons to the rebels, in violation of NATO orders. Here is one link about it:

    Washington finances ethnic warfare [emperors-clothes.com]

    This is a very serious issue, please don't take my word for it, look for yourself. There was a good joint European documentary about it a while ago, where they interviewed the NATO official in Bosnia, a Norwegian military official, and he said that the USA basically denied their allies the contractually guaranteed intelligence to cover up their covert operations.

    In my eyes this kind of behaviour leaves Europe no other choice but to go for independence in space and military. Most nations have given in to US surveillance and intelligence superiority, some like Australia and Britain even joined the Echelon system. There are stories that even those very close allies do not have full access to the jointly generated intelligence. In effect, the USA is exploiting and abusing everyone else around them, and now Mr Bush has stepped over the line with his excessive bullying and the other nations are banding together.

    I have been waiting for this for many years, and I am happy that it finally happened. While I despise Bush on all levels, he did something very valuable for the world. He gave them enough motivati

    • by smallpaul (65919) <paul AT prescod DOT net> on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @12:08PM (#6115796)

      I followed one of your links [go.com] and found this: Our space assets now are probably more important to warfighters and more important to our ability to win this global war on terrorism than they ever have been historically.

      Here's what amazes me. America learned one lesson with 9/11: there are people who want to destroy it. But America seems to be oblivious to another lesson: they do not need high-tech weapons, weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles etc. They can use commercial airlines. They can use fertilizer. They can use off-the-shelf explosives. They can use box cutters. The Military/Industrial complex wants to fight Al Queada as if it were the Soviet Union: "we'll have bigger guns than them and then we'll win." "Iraq is developing big guns so we better invade them." But that shows a complete misunderstanding of the tactics of the real enemy. They shocked the world by using innovation rather than big guns.

  • NASA Won't React (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StAugustineLovesYou (678635) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @09:38AM (#6114311) Homepage Journal
    "How will NASA react to this news after being the dominant space agency over the past three decades?"

    NASA won't react. The sad truth is that right now American society is leaning far more towards guns than butter. The reality for NASA is that American pride no longer sores on NASA wings. (Note: I'm not endorsing this view, just expressing popular culture). The reality is that the drive in congress is just not there for supporting NASA, as it's far easier to woo voters with bribes and fears on TV, than with pictures of engineers behind control stations.

    There will be speeches at NASA HQ, but no money from congress.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll

Working...