back to article UK space comes to an 'understanding' with Australia as Brexit looms

The UK and Australia have announced plans to become the best of buddies in the space field, including the UK’s current hot potato: satellite navigation. The memorandum of understanding, which was signed this week by Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, Graham Turnock, and head of the fledgling Australian Space Agency (ASA …

  1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Re: Still irrelevant

    Being outside Galileo has no practical impact: we never needed it anyway.

    Words that no doubt come as great comfort to the many people currently employed in the UK space industry who are now contemplating unemployment.

  2. Rupert Fiennes

    Re: Still irrelevant

    https://www.ft.com/content/64c9d77c-4a12-11e8-8ae9-4b5ddcca99b3

    "The navigation system itself represented a minuscule percentage of the £13.7bn revenues generated by the uk space industry in 2014-15, found the study."

    "many people"? Nope

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Still irrelevant

    "many people"? Nope

    Actually yes. Quite a lot of people.

    It's easy to forget just how big the UK space industry is - even the workforce associated with that "miniscule percentage"is a significant number of people.

    And that's the important word: "people". These are real people, with real families and real commitments.

    It's very easy for you to come onto a forum like that and spout an opinion, but this is all a very real situation for some very real people.

    Would you care to speak to any of these people in person? Tell their spouses and kids that "well, you may lose Daddy's (or Mummy's) income, so it'll be hard to put keep a roof over your heads and put food on the table, but that's OK, because Daddy (or Mummy) was irrelevant anyway"

  4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Re: Still irrelevant

    >These are real people, with real families and real commitments.

    In an industry that only exists to be the recipient of govt pork-barrel projects ?

    I assume that the rocket scientists will have better prospects than when a previous tory govt shut down the mining industry.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Still irrelevant

    I guess they can easily re-locate to one of those EU countries (you know, free labour movement within the EU and all that...)

  6. David Nash Silver badge

    Re: Still irrelevant

    "the likes of ships and aircraft can carry alternatives"

    Galileo is the alternative. That's the point.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maralinga and Woomera

    Rockets are welcome but don't bring the plutonium nasties like you did in the 50's.

    Mind you, Dad was brought out to work on the Oz Atomic tests, so I wouldn't be here without the nukes.

  9. defiler Silver badge

    Re: Maralinga and Woomera

    I wouldn't be here without the nukes.

    Do you have superpowers? Enquiring minds...

  10. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Re: Maralinga and Woomera

    There are also a few other locations near the equator flying the correct flag that may be quite happy for a ground station & a rocket lauch facility where any aborted launch hits a big patch of water and not some poor chaps farm.

  11. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Re: Maralinga and Woomera

    Equator is a lot less useful these days.

    It helps for equatorial orbits, GSO and going to the moon. It doesn't help at all for polar orbits.

    For most modern swarm systems (GNSS, sat-coms, sat-internet) there are orbits in a wide range of planes so location is less important then ability to launch often and reliably. Weather is now the biggest factor

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Maralinga and Woomera

    RE: Superpowers.

    Yes, but the Official Secrets Act is still in place.

    I have said too much already.

  13. arctic_haze Silver badge

    A great success!

    Especially that neither country is likely tol have its own navigation satellites any time soon.

  14. Nick Kew Silver badge
    Angel

    The last satnav constellation anyone will need

    'Cos under aussie law, there'll be a backdoor to the encryption. So those countries that don't already control a constellation can just tap into it.

    If it ever happens. And works ...

  15. DougS Silver badge
    Trollface

    They should talk to Canada and India next

    Then they can form their own union from the remains of their empire, with blackjack and hookers...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: They should talk to Canada and India next

    Canada makes a lot of sense as Australia are already talking to them as well. I don't know how compatible the Indian system is.

    This is exactly the kind of global opportunity that Brexit is opening up for us. Thanks ESA for pressing the point home, you bunch of ****s.

  17. Old Tom

    Re: They should talk to Canada and India next

    India is maybe a bit iffy for this, but yes we should talk to Canada. Nothing like Empire as you sneer, but as part of the logical progression of the broadening our horizons and increasing cooperation with the outside world that Brexit has fired the starting gun on.

    In this particular case, as four of the Five Eyes alliance are the four Canzuk states, a Canzuk-base for an alliance on alt-Galileo would be a very sensible start.

  18. jmch Silver badge

    Re: They should talk to Canada and India next

    They should talk to India next

    Since India actually has a proper space program including launch capability

  19. Lars Silver badge
    Coat

    Re: They should talk to Canada and India next

    Canada already takes part in ESA.

    "Canada

    Since 1 January 1979, Canada has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, the Canadian Space Agency takes part in ESA's deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA's programmes and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programmes. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada.[37] The most recent Cooperation Agreement was signed on 2010-12-15 with a term extending to 2020.[38][39] For 2014, Canada's annual assessed contribution to the ESA general budget was €6,059,449 (CAD$8,559,050).[40] For 2017, Canada has increased its annual contribution to €21,600,000 (CAD$30,000,000)".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Space_Agency#Canada

  20. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Re: They should talk to Canada and India next

    Thanks ESA for pressing the point home, you bunch of ****s.

    The rule, lobbied for by the UK at the time, was that the ESA would only allow EU companies to bid for Galileo contracts.

    So, this is what leaving means. You should be happy, it's proof you've left.

  21. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Poppycock

    "To date, the UK remains the only country to have the dubious honour of developing an orbital launch system and then dumping it."

    That is utter bollocks. The USA made the Saturn V for the Apollo landings and then scrapped it. They can't even make one any more.

    Then they went and made the very impressive and expensive Shuttle, which also got scrapped for reasons we all know.

    So the UK is most definitely not the only country to have developed and scrapped an orbital launch system.

  22. Paul Kinsler

    Re: not the only country to have developed and scrapped an orbital launch system.

    Perhaps "developed and scrapped, without an intention for any replacement", then?

  23. steelpillow Silver badge
    Holmes

    Re: Poppycock

    Forgive me, but I think the OP's context implies dumping without using it properly first.

    And isn't SpaceX a US company?

    Poppycock and bollocks where they are due, my friend.

  24. ChrisC

    Re: Poppycock

    Quite, though elsewhere that I've seen this comment made it's tended to be worded more like "only country to have developed and then abandoned orbital launch capabilities", which then avoids any nitpicking over whether an orbital launch *system* refers just to the actual launch vehicle itself or to the whole orbital launch infrastructure.

  25. werdsmith Silver badge

    Re: not the only country to have developed and scrapped an orbital launch system.

    Perhaps "developed and scrapped, without an intention for any replacement", then?

    More than that. UK just shot a single successful launch - Prospero into orbit, with a radio and a tape loop just to test the launch system.

    Totally incomparable with Apollo and the Shuttle program, which conducted a series of launches to useful space payload missions over a number of years, or in the case of shuttle decades.

  26. Mooseman Bronze badge

    Re: Poppycock

    "That is utter bollocks. The USA made the Saturn V for the Apollo landings and then scrapped it. They can't even make one any more"

    What, the big Saturn V rocket they used for bloody years to send Apollo missions up? That rocket? Idiot.

  27. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Inconvenient Truths

    1. this could of happened before Brexit

    2. The money allocated is pinprick compared with the amount which will have to be spent to get a system running

    3. GPS systems are optimized to cover certain areas of the earth. Covering two hemispheres to provide the accuracy required for military will require more satellites and greater coverage

    4. No one has explained where the frequencies required are going to come from since this would require international agreement

    5. we are looking at a huge investment (which is likely to inflate ) and long project timescales. This from a country that has so far failed to build 1 high speed rail track

    6. it is not clear why we need it anyway apart from massaging some huge Tory egos. We struggle to maintain 1 carrier group. The last time we did anything abroad was the Falklands, and that was based on cold war level military readiness. Even then it was a struggle

    7. It is likely we will need the money for other things

    8. The UK on its own is no longer a world super power, and the sooner we come to terms with this, the better the future will be

    9. It will never happen

  28. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Re: Inconvenient Truths

    "The UK on its own is no longer a world super power, and the sooner we come to terms with this, the better the future will be"

    Joining the EU was the result of coming to terms with this.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Inconvenient Truths

    The UK on its own is no longer a world super power, and the sooner we come to terms with this, the better the future will be

    There's a sad reflection on the state of British education. The UK is still the world's 8th-biggest economy, and perfectly able to count itself in the to 10 "superpowers", even if some people, for some unfathomable treason, prefer to classify themselves as failures.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Inconvenient Truths

    >There's a sad reflection on the state of British education. The UK is still the world's 8th-biggest economy, and perfectly able to count itself in the to 10 "superpowers", even if some people, for some unfathomable treason, prefer to classify themselves as failures.

    It was but 5th biggest economy two years ago... :)

  31. FlossyThePig
    Headmaster

    Re: Inconvenient Truths

    1. this could of happened before Brexit

    "have" not "of" boy! If you are smart and understand apostrophes there is the option "could've".

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Inconvenient Truths

    well, clearly joining the EU didn't work to alleviate that trauma, so the great British nation decided it would implement the third way - after the super-power ran out of steam, and coming to terms with it through EU didn't work either. Third way, Great plan, really great. A Plan. Great. Plan.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Inconvenient Truths

    well, we DO have a plan, don't we? I mean, not brexit, that's not the end, it's the means to achieve that end. So, like, what's the post-brexit PLAN?

  34. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Re: Inconvenient Truths

    The raw economy size #4/5/6/7 or 8 is rather dependant on the $ exchange rate and other criteria being used, one of which is what do you want as the answer to support your initial position, the IMF has UK at 24th & China at 79th place in GDP per/head on 2017 numbers.

    Opinion polls are the same, I'm sure we could come up with a referendum question that has both major political parties committing to retrieving the French territories we lost 500 years ago.

    Yes minister clip (brilliant documentary) -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xC2bNpXdAo

    Superpower definition: If you class a superpower as any country that meets any of the following criteria and a global superpower as one that meets all 4.

    1) Can totally flatten the planet with nukes :2: (Russia,USA) + China if they're fibbing about their missile count.

    2) Can totally flatten any other country anywhere on the planet with nukes :5: (as above + China,France,UK)

    3) Could successfully invade a reasonably well armed country anywhere without fully committing its military :1: (USA) China will be here very soon.

    4) Can put combat jets over anywhere in the world unaided :1: (USA) China will be here soon too.

    The UKs ability to erase any other country at short notice makes it a superpower, surviving retaliation is not a factor.

    It gets interesting with 'Major' powers that only have tactical nukes so can totally flatten at least one neighbouring country and therefore are pretty well immune (politically) to being invaded by anyone, (4 currently DPRK, India, Israel, Pakistan) plus about a dozen others that could join this club in less than 10 years if they so desired.

    Soon there will soon be two global superpowers with the willy-waving front line across the pacific instead of the Inner German border. (not sure if that's much an overall improvement)

    The 19th century 'Great powers' were the ones that could meet the invasion criteria as that's all that mattered then.

    On a cynical side note the Eastasian, Eurasian & Oceanian blocks are beginning to line up nicely.

  35. Kurt Meyer
    Mushroom

    Re: Inconvenient Truths

    @Wellyboot

    "The UKs ability to erase any other country at short notice makes it a superpower, surviving retaliation is not a factor."

    The UK can erase Russia? China? The US?

    Honestly, I laughed out loud.

  36. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Re: Inconvenient Truths

    @Kurt Meyer

    >>>The UK can erase Russia? China? The US? Honestly, I laughed out loud.<<<

    The UK has 2 SSBNs on patrol regularly, at full load-out that's well over 300 independent warheads (in the spirit of disarmament they normally operate with far less but still enough to maintain deterrence)

    After 300+ impacts & follow on fallout, would you care to identify the largest surviving population centre in any country? Governance would collapse into local warlords fighting for the few non poisoned resources, so yes any country would be effectively erased. Geographically smaller countries (UK included) would be overlapping craters.

    The deterrence principle is called MAD for good reason and 5 countries are in the club. It's not a laughing matter.

  37. Ochib
    Devil

    ASA

    What has the Averting Sandards Agency got to with this?

  38. defiler Silver badge

    On the other hand...

    ...it's encouraging that I now know that NASA actually stands for Not the Australian Space Agency.

    Glad they could differentiate.

  39. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Fake news

    Everyone knows Australia doesn't exist - typical Tory lies and fake promises

  40. dnicholas Bronze badge

    Re: Fake news

    Have a belly laugh

  41. John Savard Silver badge

    Re: Fake news

    If Australia did exist, since time zones and all that pretty much mean that if the Earth is flat, it has to have the North Pole in the center, then because of the difference in time zones between Sydney and Perth, it would have to be considerably wider than it is usually given credit for.

    So Australians are uniquely positioned to prove the Earth is round.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    despite the rich history between the nations

    what goes round, comes round...

    who would have thought that in return for screwing / milking half the world for a couple of centuries (purely a side-effect of the flaghip project, i.e. introducing the savages to the modern "values"), they all show us the middle finger when the Empire needs their support in its glorious path towards everlasting world leadership!

  43. This post has been deleted by its author

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Makes absolute sense

    ...for a satellite positioning system, to partner with a country on the opposite side of the planet.

  45. John Savard Silver badge

    Re: Makes absolute sense

    Actually, it does make as much sense as partnering with any other friendly country, since no doubt the UK is looking for a global positioning system usable by its naval vessels (and aircraft, and anything else) even if they're on the other side of the world from Merrie England.

  46. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    On Slashdot back before it was overtaken by kids, this sort of poorly disguised trolling in the article used to be called flamebait.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On Slashdot back before it was overtaken by kids,

    Ummm ... errr ...

  48. spold Bronze badge

    No contingency..

    <Sigh> these arrangements invariably boomerang or get turned upside-down, wattle they do then?

  49. Big_Boomer

    Ahhh, yet another Brexit cluster****! More of our hard earned money pissed down the drain. But it's all worth it, really it is! Soon we will have Blue Passports and no more immigrants, and everything will be sunny and wonderful. Who needs economic growth and low inflation when we can have another nice recession and rampant inflation once 20% gets added to the price of nearly everything we import after the 29th March. Brexit? More like F***sit!!

  50. dnicholas Bronze badge

    Space, who needs it?

    If TV has taught me anything, Brits never get into space on an interstellar way. Time travel is our thing

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018