back to article ESA toasts 10% budget boost by stretching ISS support out to 2030

ESA bigwigs were cock-a-hoop today as the agency's Ministerial Council passed a bonzer budget, with the UK, Germany, Italy and France splashing the most cash. The 10 per cent rise was, according to ESA, the first significant boost in funding in 25 years. Total subscriptions (PDF) from the states stood at €14.4bn, with Germany …

  1. Gene Cash Silver badge

    So jealous

    > Unlike NASA, which operates on a year-to-year basis (albeit with a much bigger budget), ESA's budget gives the agency five years, which makes planning a tad easier.

    That's a corker. NASA has been not-so-royally f*cked by the space mission du jour "planning" where we just do robotics go to the Moon Mars Lunar Gateway Moon is it still the Moon?

    The president tells NASA to do something, mainly for a sound bite, NASA dutifully spends a couple hundred million planning, then get told to trash all that and do something else.

    So our future in space comes down to wacknuts like Musk and Bezos spending their personal fortunes. Then some fruitcake goes "but that needs to be spent here on Earth for the poor!"

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: So jealous

      "Then some fruitcake goes "but that needs to be spent here on Earth for the poor!""

      I wouldn't call the idea of billionaires having to pay taxes and not spunk their money on vanity projects 'fruitcake'. You might not agree, but which one of the two -- Muck or such people -- put a car in space?

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: So jealous

        What's wrong with sending a car in space?

        1. IGotOut
          Joke

          Re: So jealous

          Don't you need trucks, rather than cars, to transport the materials to the moon and back?

          1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge
            Terminator

            Re: So jealous

            A Cybertruck, piloted by a Cyberman?

            Icon: close but no cigar.

            1. bombastic bob Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: So jealous

              Cyberman. heh.

              /me imagines a bunch of Cybermen marching in time with one another, thunka, thunka, thunka, thunka...

      2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: If billionaires paid an extra million in tax ...

        ... would a whole 1000 reach the poor?

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: If billionaires paid an extra million in tax ...

          after gummint gets ITS cut, and determines who the 'favored' are, you'd be lucky if 1 reached the poor. And they (the politicians) would scream for MORE MONEY because that's just what they always do...

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: So jealous

        Spending money on rockets DOES help the poor... it helps get them JOBS

        And you get something BACK for the spent money. And there are OTHER benefits, from technological advancement to the PRIDE of having done something COOL!

        It's all good. Buy more rockets, ESA!

    2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: So jealous

      'So our future in space comes down to wacknuts like Musk and Bezos spending their personal fortunes. Then some fruitcake goes "but that needs to be spent here on Earth for the poor!" '

      Do you have citations for what makes those moderately successful and wealthy individuals 'wacknuts'? And which 'fruitcake' actually intends to redistribute those particular "personal fortunes" on the poor? If you believe it's any politician or controller of a current financial system you are clearly deluded. No such over-hyped redistribution of wealth has happened since that bloke was having an picnic on a mountainside and handed out a few spare sardine sandwiches ...

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Moderately ?

        I see nothing moderate in either of those billionaires, or in any billionaire actually. You've got quite some cheek to suggest that they are "moderately" wealthy. Either that or you should get back in touch with reality.

        The only thing I see in favor of these two is that they are doing what NASA cannot do any more : getting Humanity back into space. I'm willing to forgive them their excesses for that reason.

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: So jealous

      "NASA dutifully spends a couple hundred million planning, then get told to trash all that and do something else"

      Yes, but some contractors in key congressional districts get to pocket most of that money so the system is working as it's supposed to.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: So jealous

        sadly, gummint contract abuse IS part of "the swamp" and needs to be DRAINED...

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: So jealous

          Well, Eisenhower warned you about it in the 60's and it's certainly not got better since then...

      2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: So jealous

        ...some contractors in key congressional districts get to pocket most of that money...

        Saying something is working "as it's supposed to" is not the same thing as "as intended". The system may be working the way the people who designed it intended, but that is definitely not the way it is supposed to be.

    4. frankvw
      Facepalm

      Whacknut jobs? Maybe not..

      Granted, Musk and Bezos and the rest of that lot belong to a particular species of eccentrics. But for good reason: to achieve what they have, you have to be!

      Musk especially is a good example. SpaceX has achieved things in 17 years that NASA (and Boing!) are still not capable of, in spite of having been in the game for more than half a century and having been allocated budgets with many more zeroes than what SpaceX has to play with.

      You can't do all that unless you have an ego the size of Jupiter.

      So yes, he's a little weird. But he's been successful because of it, not in spite of it.

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Whacknut jobs? Maybe not..

        Musk especially is a good example. SpaceX has achieved things in 17 years that NASA (and Boing!) are still not capable of, in spite of having been in the game for more than half a century and having been allocated budgets with many more zeroes than what SpaceX has to play with.

        I'm something of a Musk fanboy, but I'm not sure its a fair comparison with NASA. Musk has a laser like focus where he's answerable to nobody. NASA is answerable to whoever is in the White house, whatever committee makes up their budget, and a whole host of political considerations (the environmental friendliness of their existence etc) that Musk can simply ignore if he chooses.

        You can't compare committee's to individuals, which is why they only build statues of the latter.

  2. beast666

    Doomed I tells yer

    The ESA, just like the EU, is doomed to ultimate catastrophic failure.

    1. Avatar of They
      Trollface

      Re: Doomed I tells yer

      Yawn!!!

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Doomed I tells yer

      "The ESA, just like the EU, is doomed to ultimate catastrophic failure." @beast666

      Do you have any evidence to back up your assertion, or is it kneejerk "Europe baaaaaaad!" commentary? Or perhaps you think all space agencies around the world are necessarily "doomed"? (If so, I suspect India and China would like a word, not to mention the USA)

    3. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

      Re: Doomed I tells yer

      Satire? I'm hoping it's satire.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Doomed I tells yer

      even _I_ gave that one a thumbs down

      (unless it was supposed to be funny, but I wasn't really laughting)

  3. Lars
    Happy

    Some comments

    "Some within ESA had expressed a little disquiet about the latter in conversation with El Reg recently, wishing that perhaps the agency could have been a little braver and pushed ahead with more exotic tech while leaving traditional rocketry with the commercial launch providers."

    I have to presume the "little disquieted" were British and I will have to presume that if Britain happened to have any sort of launch providers they would eagerly support them or, are we confronted with the mindset that destroyed large parts of British industry like the car manufacturing that went from number two to number thirteen in the world.

    On Ariane:

    "The European Space Agency (ESA) charged the EADS subsidiary Astrium, presently Airbus Defence and Space, with the development of all Ariane launchers and of the testing facilities, while Arianespace, a 32.5% CNES (French government space agency) commercial subsidiary created in 1980, handles production, operations and marketing. Arianespace launches Ariane rockets from the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou in French Guiana".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariane_(rocket_family)

    And on ESA and the EU:

    "The political perspective of the European Union (EU) was to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014,[79] although this date was not met. The EU is already the largest single donor to ESA's budget and non-ESA EU states are observers at ESA.....

    ESA is funded from annual contributions by national governments as well as from an annual contribution by the European Union (EU)"

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

    Better keep the control where the money is.

  4. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
    Coat

    All I can picture is a bunch of gammons banging their fists and exclaiming "but we voted to leave Europe".

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      is there a UK version of ESA or NASA ?

      maybe it's time...

      1. emeterio

        Most member states of ESA (which are not the same as the EU) have some kind of domestic space agency which, depending on the country, develops its own programmes, channels funding to ESA and coordinates their national research (inside or outside of ESA programmes).

        The UK has the UKSA (UK Space Agency) which appears to have developed some way from its predecessor (the BNSC) to both investing heavily in ESA and doing independent research and development with domestic research and industrial groups.

        https://www.gov.uk/ukspaceagency

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With Britain Away, the ESA will play

    Now maybe the UK can concentrate on Skylon

    1. emeterio

      Re: With Britain Away, the ESA will play

      As the original article says - the UK have definitely not gone away from ESA. Actually the opposite has happened and the UK is increasing its involvement in the Agency.

      One point to bear in mind is ESA has a system of geographical return (you put 10 quid into the Agency and you get 10 quid back in the form of contracts). This is very different to the EU/EC approach which is just the best bid (which hurts small countries).

      As to Skylon - you should be aware that the development of the SABRE engine (which is the heart of Skylon) is being funded partially by ESA.

      https://www.esa.int/Enabling_Support/Space_Engineering_Technology/Air-breathing_engine_precooler_achieves_record-breaking_Mach_5_performance

      1. Lars
        Happy

        Re: With Britain Away, the ESA will play

        @emeterio

        I know this thread is getting old but for more details on the "return", it's not that straight forward as you have to be able to deliver competitively too.

        Listen to this vid from ESA press conference..

        https://www.esa.int/

      2. John Jennings

        Re: With Britain Away, the ESA will play

        I dont think Skylon will every fly.

        The UK is often able to 'punch above its weight' - in design and prototyping for advanced designs and innovative tech.

        The UK too small to properly capitalise it as a whole project. Like the design of the Jet engine in commercial flight - ultimately, Boeing won over the comet - a plane years ahead of its time, using new all metal skin technologies- which was flawed because we didnt know of metal fatigue. It was only later with Nimrod (basically the same plane that was used for 60 years) that the UK (and the world) fully got the tech understood.

        Rolls Royce is a design success story in Jet engine design. They successfully build one part of a project.

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