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Space Transportation

An Australian Space Agency At Last? 189

Dante_J writes "In the Australian Federal budget presented last night, as well as big national infrastructure spending, an amount of $48.6 million over four years was allocated for an 'Australian Space Science Program.' Normally a space program is managed by a space agency. Does this now mean that Australia will follow the recommendations of the Senate Space Science report and give up its rather inadequate title of the only top-20 GDP nation not to have one? With nations like Vietnam, Bangladesh and Bulgaria forming or maintaining space agencies, this government infrastructure is obviously not limited to G-20 nations. Discussions to combine Australian and New Zealand airspace have been undertaken; should that translate to aerospace too, and both nations form an ANZAC space agency together?"
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An Australian Space Agency At Last?

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  • Re:ANZAC? (Score:3, Informative)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @01:59AM (#27948019) Homepage Journal

    "form an ANZAC Space Agency together" So that'd be an Australia and New Zealand Army Corps Space Agency then?

    Thats not going to end well [wikipedia.org] you know.

  • Re:g'day mate (Score:5, Informative)

    by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @03:23AM (#27948319)

    Well drag me to hell...what does an island nation, sitting well below the equator, need with a space program anyhow.

    I know the parent is a troll but...

    Using " to indicate degrees as I haven't figured out how to get ./ to render a proper degrees symbol.

    Australia's most northern point is 10"41 S (cape york, QLD), the US's most southern point is 18"56 N in Hawaii or 24"33 N on the US mainland (Key West, Fl)

    Australia's most northern capital city Darwin, NT is 12"29 S whislt the US's most southern capital city is Florida, FL is 25:46 N

    Australia's biggest problem is that it's fairly low lying country but really so is Florida, where Cape Canaveral is located. As I pulled all of this out of Google Earth fairly quickly I don't have avg elevations for NT, QLD and FL.

  • by DynaSoar ( 714234 ) on Thursday May 14, 2009 @03:26AM (#27948329) Journal

    The following is fairly negative, but is posed honestly, not as flamebait, troll or other such nonsense.

    It seems to be becoming a standard /. format to raise a topic, pose a question, and then proceed to discuss the issue and/or raise more questions as though the answer to the first was affirmative. The result is something that looks like it belongs in Ask Slashdot, and makes sense mostly if you read it while nodding vigorously. The real answers to the questions could often be found by doing some real research on the subject, but that doesn't happen as it would disrupt the chain of wishful thinking. The same could be said of locating information disproving the imaginary thesis, but that's even less likely to occur.

    Space science encompasses pretty much anything that goes on over that magical 100 km altitude, even studying things up there from down here as well as technology associated with such work. $10M/year could fund your traditionally fine radio telescope program. It could as easily apply to using that hardware to support a space based radio-location (ie. GPS) program or even satellite relayed telecommunications. $10M/year might be able to get stretched to develop a sounding rocket if you scrimped by using something like Indonesia's sugar based solid fuel motors. It could also get swallowed whole easily maintaining your existing launch sites and related infrastructure. $40M would cover the initial training of a shuttle mission specialist but not the technical training for a specific mission. Many space related projects could be funded by the budgeted amount, except a "space program", taken to mean something like an Aussie spam-in-a-can riding into the black in an Aussie capsule on top an Aussie booster -- a home grown manned space flight program. Ain't gonna happen for that amount. That amount over 4 years might be able to fund the development of an administration and engineering group capable of doing something like that at some later date for a much greater amount. Given such an organization, that amount/time frame could go to make good progress on the proposed Ausroc LCLV, but almost certainly not enough to finish it.

    Australia has a decent record of booster and payload/program development and execution without having burdened itself with a top heavy centralized administration. Sites have been operating quite well on an independent basis. For instance, Woomera has operated 15 pads and launched well over 500 missions in the past half century without a hint of need for an oversight agency. It's fairly inactive now but could wind back up if needed for the Ausroc or similar projects. Other sites have similar records, and the cumulative national record is impressive (see http://www.astronautix.com/country/ausralia.htm [astronautix.com] ). It ain't broke. Don't fix it. Have the sense not to replicate programs long since superseded elsewhere, such as early (ie. Mercury and Gemini) NASA, when one could obtain far more for the money via partnering with present day US or Russian programs. Sure, you could develop a manned program, or you could put that money to better use and get more out of it, as you have been all along.

    And please do your homework so you can jump past the leading questions rhetoric and approach it from a position that lends to more fruitful discussion. If the quoted figures are your actual budget, then it was discussed and voted on. That means your own representative politicritter was at least peripherally involved, and an inquiry in their direction could well provide much more solid information (or at least proposed intentions) than the referenced vagaries and attached hypotheticals.

    Finally, a piece of synchronicity. As I was writing this the following fortune/tagline was at the bottom of the page: "Mitchell's Law of Committees: Any simple problem can be made insoluble if enough meetings are held to discuss it."

  • Re:g'day mate (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 14, 2009 @04:14AM (#27948549)

    It's also the only continent with a single country on it.

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.