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Government Space United Kingdom Science

UK Space Agency Launched 125

krou writes "Today saw the launch of the new UK Space Agency (UKSA), which will officially come into being on the 1st of April. Its stated goal is to lead to more coherency in space policy, and better decision making, by gradually assuming control over the various budgets and management functions of various government departments and science funding councils. Lord Drayson, the minister for science and innovation, said that 'People in the UK are not aware of just how good Britain is both at space research and in terms of our space industry; [a space agency] is going to make people more aware of that. But in practical terms, it's going to make the decision-making by government in all aspects of space policy much more joined up, better co-ordinated — a single point within government which has responsibility for making sure that we get everything in alignment such that the space research we do, the space industry that we're building, fulfils its true potential.' The government also announced that it is adding £24m to the £16m put up by business to create an International Space Innovation Centre at Harwell in Oxfordshire."
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UK Space Agency Launched

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  • "OK, Harwell, we've had a problem here!..."
    "This is Harwell. Say again please?"

  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @05:38AM (#31595090)
    Black Arrow rebooted? They fired the engines several times, and then they fired the engineers. :-(
    • Yes, and it's a damn shame. £9 million was a bargain price for a space programme. That would have paid for a few months for NASA's first year.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Chrisq ( 894406 )
        When will they ever learn []....

        Prior to the cancellation of Black Arrow, NASA had offered to launch British payloads for free; however this offer was withdrawn following the decision to cancel Black Arrow.

      • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @06:05AM (#31595226)

        Not only that, but we made some interesting indigenous technologies of our own; for instance we made the worlds only RP-1/HTP orbital rocket. This propellant combination was storable at normal temperature and pressure, hypergolic (if you preheated the HTP, which you did anyway in an expander cycle) was very efficient at driving turbopumps, and non-toxic. The engines that used it were also very reliable, and didn't suffer a single failure in over 100 firings.

        Buy hey! Here comes a Tory government! We can save the nation pennies if we can this innovating technology! Go self-interest!

        Fucking Tories.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by segedunum ( 883035 )
          It wasn't really just the Tories. It was the civil servants under both the Tories and Labour who ran it into the ground. They didn't think it was 'viable', and by that time we had become totally Americanised - and then the burgeoning commercial satellite business took off.........
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by damburger ( 981828 )

            The final decision rested on a Tory minister (Frederick Corfield) - and whilst he could certainly have had some "Yes, Minister" style assistance from civil servants, he was ultimately responsible in my eyes.

            Its too easy for politicians to gut important programs in the name of short term savings, because ultimately the long term losses aren't the problem of the decision maker (the minister in question wasn't in his position for very long).

    • The really sad thing about the UKSA is that it doesn't seem to include developing rockets or things of that sort. From the announcement, it seems to be about creating a new government position for someone's nephew to fill....

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I was hoping it would be called Her Majesty's Space Agency (HMSA), it sounds much better then UKSA.

    • That would be more something for a sci-fi opera. In which "Her Majesty" would be, of course, virgin queen Elizabeth XIII...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by VJ42 ( 860241 )

      I was hoping it would be called Her Majesty's Space Agency (HMSA), it sounds much better then UKSA.

      (Great British Space Agency) GBSA* also sounds better. They picked the worst possible name from those available...

      *Yes, yes I know... [] but how much input will come from Northern Ireland, really?

      • *Yes, yes I know... but how much input will come from Northern Ireland, really?

        Who do you think contributed the Advanced Micro-gravity Guinness Tap Module to the ISS?!

  • by GBC ( 981160 ) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @05:57AM (#31595174)
    Surely they should have called it the Ministry of Space []?
  • But Rivest, Shamir and Adleman might have been annoyed. :P

  • *SA (Score:3, Informative)

    by hey ( 83763 ) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @06:07AM (#31595242) Journal

    NASA []

    ESA = European Space Agency []

    CSA = Canadian Space Agency []

    JAXA = Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
    (ooops) []

    Tons more []

  • ... bankrupt us? They spent nearly a billion pounds reorganisng and creating agencies in the last few years, many of which don't even exist any more. Then they try to deflect attention by blaming the bankers for the recession when it was their own policies of raising both spending and taxes and running a deficit when the economy was at its peak that is the real cause of our pain. Their "quantitative easing" means the Bank of England has delete 200 billion pounds from its accounts at some point. I don't

  • by lordholm ( 649770 ) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @07:41AM (#31595750) Homepage

    This is pretty pointless, the UK could raise their contribution to the ESA and ESA would need to hand more contracts back to the UK. There really is no point to having their own space agency, compared to ensuring our common European interests.

    And the same goes to the rest. If they need one, set it up as the Swedish Space Agency, they don't really do anything except oversee the Swedish contribution to ESA and some research. There really is no need to develop launchers or satellites locally.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc ( 563838 )

      The Brits have been generally less keen on the whole EU thing than the continent has. They haven't moved to the Euro, for instance. Among other things, if they're more closely tied to the EU, then the UK has to play second-fiddle to Germany and France. So I wouldn't be surprised if part of this is a subtle anti-EU move.

    • Moron, thats exactly what it is going to do. You didn't seriously think that this Agency will spend any money on Space activities? Fool, thats not how we do things in the UK these days.

      What we do is create a load of bureaucrats with the power to fine you if you arn't doing Space right - and the fines pay for the bureaucrats to sit on their arses and dream up new ways of fining people. Trust me they will just leach off of any money streams being spent by commercial enterprises trying to buy ESA services.


      • In that case, what is the difference between the UKSA and the BNSC?

        • I understand part of this has useful implications of budgeting. Specifically, space agency stuff will have a different budget pot to some of the other scientic work, which (given we like to put lots of money in to get the return investment from ESA) is useful as it protects the funding of other sciences a bit more. AIUI from someone in non-space programme science.

          No idea why they're not using the BNSC but the stories I'd seen on the UKSA do claim that it's just a co-ordinating umbrella for existing space

    • The European Union does not have more than 20 years left. It will be fragmented and get back to the way things were right after WWII and before the European Coal and Steel Community. The reason is that the EU is an economic union but not a social and cultural union.

      The UKSA is one example of such a trend.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by lordholm ( 649770 )

        Sometimes I wonder why people are so blind, the EU is culturally tied together. This stem from more than a thousand years of common history.

        For example, I practice Historical European Martial Arts, especially focused on longswords. There are two major schools of longsword in Europe, the German and the Italian. But do you know what the difference is? Well, practically nothing (major) except the terminology (there are also British and Spanish schools, but they do not differ to any larger aspect either). Why i

        • The will not break up due to 'cultural issues'.

          They will break up due to 'printing press issues' related to the Euro.

          It will be in less then 20 years.

          I'm guessing about 10 when the baby boom retirements get into serious volume.

          Of course the dollars (US, Aus and Loony) and pound will be tanking at the same time for the same reason.

          Bad as it is there is only one entity (maybe 2, the fed and the mint) that can print dollars. I'm guessing at 50% rapid devaluation for single debtor nation currencies.

    • by bytesex ( 112972 )

      It's not just about contracts being handed back to you. You might also want to determine the direction of research, which is simpler this way.

    • The reason is we do have our own projects ....

          Beagle 2 was a UK only project, launched on an ESA rocket, although largely unsuccessful it means that three countries have landed anything on Mars and the UK is one of them ...the other two countries don't have a very good success rate of landings .....


  • Has no one referenced Eddie Izzard's "Man up a ladder in Swindon" skit? Shocking form
  • Any space agency whose stated goal is consolidation of funds and policy - isn't a space agency.

    Someone needs to take the reins and start doing something IN space. Fine, fine, fine, increased data analysis on the ground of satellite-based observation - boring!

    Where's our space elevator? Where are material launch platforms designed to get things (not necessarily people) to orbit and back? Where's microgravity manufacturing, power generation and transmission, orbiting biodomes, space litter remediation - enoug
  • ...perhaps they can harvest some of that cheese from the moon again []?

  • Let me be the first to welcome the U.K. to the 1950s!

    • Oh, come on... do I really have to put [joke] tags or smiley faces on that to convey that it's supposed to be a humorous comment?

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun