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back to article National space agency for Blighty, says Drayson

Biznovation minister Lord Drayson has announced that the UK is to get a proper space agency along the same lines as the USA's NASA, French CNES and German DLR. Until now, British government space business has been handled by a loose alliance of departments and research councils - though the UK commercial space sector has become …

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Virgin Galactic / British Space Agency ?

Virgin seem to be going along the right lines -- why dont we just buy a few of the Spaceship One craft and adapt them ?

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Export regs

I expect that WK2 and SS2, being wholly USA designed and built, would not be allowed to be sold to anyone else due to US export regs. Could be wrong though.

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Anonymous Coward

ITAR

It's called ITAR, and it means that EVERY SINGLE part needs a detailed report saying what is going to happen to it, whose hands it will pass through, who will eventually own it, who will operate it, where it will physically go and end up.

I'm talking about every electronic part that comes from the US and has the required radiation resistance to be used in space; ICs (anything from op-amps to processors), transistors...

Anonymous, because well, I didn't tell you anything.

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Alien

And...

RAF Space Command is born! Bring on Jet Ace Logan and his sidekick Plum Duff.

Alien... Does it need explaining.

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I wonder what the chances...

of it being called the British Experimental Rocket Group...?

Bernard would finally be proud...

MW

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Other suggestions:

Interplanetary Space Fleet

Ministry of Space

Space Corps

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Happy

@knotty question of what the proposed body should be called

How about USS ! :) ... as in, Uk Space Stuff or Uk Stuff in Space (USS) ... (I was going to go for Uk Starfleet Ships, but lets face it, this is the UK so sadly we don't do big high tech futuristic forward looking space ships, we just do "stuff" in "space").

@Skylon

Backing Skylon would be utterly awesome, it would piss on the antiquated Shuttle design, it would make an incredible launch platform and the UK could earn billions from it, but sadly the UK politicians have apathetically and ignorantly failed to back it ever since the days it was HOTOL.

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Hmm, if they are not going to be serious...

Space Command Uk (SCuK - just think french connection uk) could use a Britain And Dependancies Geosyncronous Energetic Rocket to achieve Orbit Related Geosyncronous Activities Space Manoeveurs.

Sorry - quiet at work ATM.

Aren't we like 30 years too late to try and drag the UK back into taking space seriously? and I would say that now is not a good time to be thinking about new projects to get the UK into more debt.

It doesn't look like I'll be living on the moon anytime soon.

http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/7690/20091203backinmyday.png

ttfn

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Alien

Moon city

I have asked a NASA engineer (he designed the solar panels of Spirit and Opportunity. He even writes SF) if in 25 years, when I will retire, I will be able to retire on the Moon.

His answer was: "Keep your fingers crossed!"

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Stop

Hands Off

It would appear that the private sector has done remarkably well on it's own, I suggest that the government and it's business crippling bureaucracy keeps it's hands well off this British success story.

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Surely

Surely the Ministry of Space?

Failing that, Department for Aeronautic Research, Science and Exploration. ?

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British Imperial Spaceways

Might as well follow a long and honourable tradition and paint the whole of the solar system pink.

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Unhappy

I may be being cynical but...

I may be being cynical but you have an industry which has become successful (very successful, lets be honest) with almost no government assistance or regulation. Now the government wants to "co-ordinate" the industry. Am i the only one thinking that if this goes ahead it spells the death knoll for the British Space Industry?

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Paris Hilton

"BSA" - Bastard Stopped Again

at lease that's what it meant in my social circle.........

Paris, because she never stops.......

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Well hot damn! At last!

Could this mean that, finally, Thunderbirds really are "go"?

Too bad Dan Dare's a bit old to be flying these days.

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Names for British spaceships

"DSP15" (Google it - if you need a clue, add "Hoyle" to the search), and any Shakespearean characters following from Ariel and Prospero (though suggest skip Caliban!)

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Anything but BSA

I would rather not name a new British space agency after the Bloated Software Alliance. How about: British Organisation For Flying Into Nothing.

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Re Anything but BSA

"Flying Into Nothing" sounds a little defeatist.

British Organisation For Flying Into New Spaces?

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Joke

I remeber the good old days

We had proper nostalgia back then.

"Plum duff," perhaps "Broon" pudding might be more appropriate.

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Dan Dare reference

We already have a Dan Dare reference. Any British astronaut has to fly as a "Guest" because they can't get proper funding.

And we have a working, proven, British built satellite launcher. It's dangling from the roof of the Science Museum, in the next gallery to Rocket.

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Lets send

.. Mandelson up as a test pilot - first stop .. Uranus!

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I agree with the privateers!

I wholeheartedly agree with those who've already the governemnt should leave well enough alone, otherwise we'll just hear more Reg stories of how the MoD blew yet another eye-watering amount of cash on obsolete. overbudget junk we could've had off the shelf years ago for a fraction of the price!

Good article though, I didn't know we were still good at anything anymore!

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Go

Seemed to have been proposed about 10 years ago.

Did not happen then. Unlikely to happen now. After all the government is too busy putting in place the remainder of its cradle-to-grave surveillance system for the British people. For their own good of course.

The BNSC is basically a buyers club to get Quintiq or SSTL to build a sat for them. It also operates the theme park in Leicester. AFAIK It still does not have an independant budget despite (as pointed out) the UK space industry having a turnover near that of the automotive industry.

BNSC's attitude to launcer work seems to have improved a bit from the days when they

seemed to think any such project would be like a "Son of Concorde" leviathan

Yes it would be a good idea, so I say go. Will it happen with less than 181 days remaining to election and the chance of a Labour return to power as high as me shagging a super model.

You are having a laugh, are you not?

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Go

The reason we never got into space is....

because ultimately, it has very little value, there is nothing up there, just empty space, whats the point of investing money into it?

think about it more logically, the americans have a big willy contest over how amazing they are at geting people into space, thats fantastic, amazing! but really, when you get up there, there is very little to do, watch how muscle/body weight alters, experiment on butterflies.

the problem is that space is very hard to access, so the amount of money to go there, is huge, therefore, when you get there, you better get your monies worth or you're just pissing money down the drain, right now, we barely do anything interesting, because most of the technology we need to live "comfortably" up there, doesnt exist yet.

It's like the vikings and their ships, before that, we didnt have many nations experimenting with constructing ships to transport people or cargo, we just shipped it around on donkeys, horses, etc, why? because building ships is problematic because at that time, we didnt know how to do it, the vikings did, they knew how to use them, build them and exploit the benefits, we learned that and then started to build ships.

basically, the vikings paid the R&D budget single handedly and then we just copied it at a fraction of the price, the same "strategy" is being deployed here, right now, space is a waste of money, we can build things that help others, but we arent interested in going because the value of what you get when you arrive, is so low. let the americans pay for the R&D and when it becomes childs play to enter space, you'll see a renewed interest from the british.

It's like stealth aircraft, the americans paid how many billions to figure out how to build it? we come along and I remember a story on theregister a couple of months back about how the british are building their own stealh and guess how much it costs? (hint: not billions). The americans cried foul over it saying we MUST have stolen it, or the ideas, but the simple fact is.

It's expensive to be the trailblazer and cheap to be the runner up, but at the end, we are all at the end of the racetrack.

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Getting into space

Yeah, getting into space is a waste of time...

I'm assuming that you don't have sat TV of course, and that you haven't watched anything realtime from further away that your local ITV station (olympics, World cup, European cup...)

You've never had any benefit from GPS because you don't use a satNav, and haven't got any maps made in the last 20 years.

You haven't bought anything that has been shipped from overseas, like cheap imported Chinese stuff, Japanese electronics or anything oil based, including petrol / diesel. You also haven't bought anything that has been driven about by trucks fueled by diesel that was brought to where you live by ships.

You have never made use of weather forecasts (including the way they are used for you, for example to plan when you will need certain provisions, or to plan when to harvest your food for optimum taste/yeald).

You've never flown anywhere.

Yeah, launching things into space is a waste of time...

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Col

Likewise

Agree with Caspah Scottorn, lglethal and Adam Salisbury - if the UK space industry is doing so well on it's own why, in the name of the wee man, should the Government - especially /this/ government - be allowed to get it's mitts on it? They just want to be associated with something which actually works.

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NeuRealSpeak ..... for Changing HyperRadioProActive IT Environments/Hot XSSXXXX Zones

Do you think Blighty Boffinry steers the Future in/with CyberSpace Control, via AI and ITs Remote Virtual Control of Media's Universal Message Facility? And/Or is it a Private Path Finder Operation with Sophisticated Pirates in Buccaneering Enterprise?

An Extremely Sophisticated Program/ESPecial Project with Danegeld Power Protocols and NEUKlearer Trigger Drivers/Qubit Algorithm Processing ....... for the Best of All Worlds in Every World Control of Information/Knowledge/Intelligence?

It is a Simple Fact, although of course a More Complex Process, that Media Presents Reality and Presently are ITs Shows Trailing B Movie Wannabe Actors in a Global Political Climate Change Disaster Movie with Monumental Dollar Losses.

Change the Script, Changes the Show. Now ......... who wants a Better Show with a Better Beta Script? Something which can Easily Deliver Every Power a Sublime Control in a NEUKlearer Direction with All Driver Facilities Virtually Provided ........ thus to be Perfectly Primed and Physically Protected Invisibly against System Bugs, Program Worms and Project Viruses.

AI Technology which would be Offered Free of Wassenaar Blight's Dual Use Purpose, even as IT dDelivers Sensitive Multi User ProgramMING from Satellites in Space and IntelAIgent Communities Phorming in CyberSpace and Forging Forwards with Surging 21st Century Networks InterNetworking JOINT Applications.

Or are more Sub Prime Toxic Waste Productions to be Crazy Man's Default Choice for Idiot Child's Imposed Fare?

Answers on a Virtual Postcard to this AIRegistered String, Please.

[Please note that Third Party Impotence and One's Own Inability to Create in AI a New ProgramMING World Order, in No Way Hinders or Prevents ITs Implementation by Others SMARTer Enabled. .......... Let the Great Games Train take the Future Strain because ........ well, why ever and how ever would you be enabled to stop IT.]

Normally now, normal businesses would attach a stay out of gaol free card, with a Cowardly Safe Harbour Statement ............ PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING FACTORS THAT CAN MATERIALLY AFFECT FUTURE RESULTS.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Any statements set forth in this news release that are not entirely historical and factual in nature, including without limitation statements concerning our expectations regarding new or existing products or technologies, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations and are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. The potential risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, such factors as the uncertainty of litigation, the costs and expenses of litigation, the potential material adverse effect litigation could have on Future business and results of operations, if an adverse determination in litigation is made, and the time and attention required of management to attend to litigation, rapidly changing technology and product obsolescence, potential cost increases, variations in customer order preferences, weakness or competitive pricing environment of the marketplace, uncertain demand for and acceptance of the company's products, adverse circumstances in any of our end markets, results of in-process or planned development or marketing and promotional campaigns, difficulties foreseeing future demand, potential non-realization of expected orders or non-realization of backlog, product returns, product liability, and other potential unexpected business and economic conditions or adverse changes in current or expected industry conditions, difficulties and costs of protecting patents and other proprietary rights, inventory obsolescence and difficulties regarding customer qualification of products. In addition to these factors and any other factors mentioned elsewhere in this news release, the reader should refer as well to the factors, uncertainties or risks identified in a company's most recent Form 10-K and all subsequent Form 10-Q reports filed in the Future with the SEC. Additional risk factors may be identified from time to time in Future filings. The forward-looking statements included in this release speak only as of the date hereof, and does not undertake any obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances. ................ but one doesn't Need to Feed such a Worthless Spineless Caveat when things are Irrregular and Unconventional and Running Smoothly in XXXXStreamIS.

Quantum Communications BetaTest #XXXX0912120742

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Happy

@ Chris Thomas Alpha

"because ultimately, it has very little value, there is nothing up there, just empty space, what's the point of investing money into it?"

Tell that to SSTL and EADS. They have made successful businesses supply stuff to do work in this nothingness. Further ahead satellite solar power could run a lot of the world until the sun goes out.

"the problem is that space is very hard to access, "

With expendable rockets yes. It has been known since the 1960s that the energy to get to orbit is about the same as the round trip (both ways) fuel consumption for uk-Australia (worked out by Douglas aircraft. The people who built the DC3).

"right now, we barely do anything interesting, because most of the technology we need to live "comfortably" up there, doesn't exist yet."

And if I'm understanding you correctly never would. Nothing to see, nothing to do, no reason to go -> no reason to develop long term life support.

<viking analogy skipped>

Not equivalent. Lots of peoples developed ships. Quite a lot developed ocean going ships. More to the point was there were *incentives* to do so. In the US those incentives are driving the COTS programme to fund 2 developers to supply the ISS at rather less than a Shuttle flight. They don't get paid if they don't deliver anything. So far it's working well. There are also disincentives. For example the responsibility for cleaning up a failed launcher (or out of control satellite) is not on the supplier, but on their national government because the relevant treaty *never* considered that orbital launch could be carried out by a private company.

It's like stealth aircraft, the Americans paid how many billions to figure out how to build it?

Actually they paid to make aircraft the shape that their software said they needed to be in the materials they needed to be made in. The original research was Russian.

It's expensive to be the trailblazer and cheap to be the runner up, but at the end, we are all at the end of the racetrack

People have played follow-the-leader with the US for decades, not just in the technology but in the development process.

Guess what. If you copy a very expensive vehicle (built by a very expensive development process) using the *same* process you *get* a very expensive vehicle with the same very high launch costs giving a very high cost per Kg to orbit.

Note the common denominators here. Limited independent thought and a belief in a highly bureaucratic process.

The last generation of US government sponsored expendables cost in the $1-1.5Bn to develop (without any launches). The Space Exploration (compatible with he low-mid range of these) has cost $200-250m, including 4 launches so far. Does that suggest that how you develop is as important as what you develop?

What could it be if a more creative approach was tried?

You should be careful when reasoning by analogy. They can be very misleading.

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Grenade

Waste of bloody money!

Given that the UK has a minimal aircraft industry, as well as a minimal industrial base, why is Brown wasting money on this?

It will make Britain the butt of even more jokes, like those Navy ships floating around waiting for their armament. What would Nelson say?

Maybe they will draw up specifications for fireworks and meteorological rockets?

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UK car industry turnover

According to http://www.autoindustry.co.uk the UK car manufacturing industry had turnover in 2004 (the most recent year that they show figures for) of £49bn, and the motor trade nearly £134bn, giving a combined total of c.£183bn, and that's excluding petrol stations/fuel.

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Jobs Horns

What do you mean "Nothing will change" ?

Of course it will. The creation of a government Department is always the precursor to the demise of the industry.

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Pint

You have forgotten ASI.

The Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, is 21 years old, and can buy it's own beer in the US...

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