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Politicians (!) pushing for ESA to join space race

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:38 pm
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Politicians (!) pushing for ESA to join space race 
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Post Politicians (!) pushing for ESA to join space race   Posted on: Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:38 pm
According to the article "French Government Group Wants Europe To Join 2nd Space Race" ( www.space.com/spacenews/businessmonday_070212.html ) a French parliamentary group engage for Europe to join the space race between the other space nations.

According to the article among their proposals are

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Europe’s heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket should be made capable of launching astronauts within five years.


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France and other European governments should give assistance to companies that propose to develop suborbital flight systems designed to create a space-tourism industry.


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The report says Europe’s NATO members should set a goal of making their existing military satellite telecommunications systems interoperable within two years.


The second point also indicates political assistance for private personal spaceflight. Perhaps they know of Starchaser industries, Bristol Spaceplanes, Talis-Institut and ARCA (althought Romania is not a member of ESA as Sigurd clarified.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:15 pm
Yes, it is good that they do it, but for all the wrong reasons (military purposes). I bet that the military purposes will outweigh the commercial purposes. But i would like to see what kind of a plan they will come up with.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:41 pm
Military or no--if it gets Ariane M built I'm all for it.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:12 am
I wish more politicians and governments could think more like this. I think that the CSTS is Europe's best bet in gaining independent crewed space access.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:45 am
The French always had greater ambitions with "their French rocket" Ariane (besides that in every country there are a few space enthusiasts even in parliaments.

Nearly all space programs are based on French ideas (Ariane rocket, Soyuz at Kourou, Western Europeans onboard Russian stations). Lately Italy (Vega launcher, ISS participation: Logistics Modules, Node 2+3+Cupola) showed ambitions.

I would like to see a separation of France away from ESA as ESA often is the stopping factor to a lot of developments. After a zillion of discussions which country has to pay how much percent of a program and getting how much percent back, often programs are cancelled after a few years of discussions.

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Post    Posted on: Sat Dec 29, 2007 2:55 pm
I too find the bureaucracy to hinder progress, but I also like the idea of several countries joining forces, resources and expertise. I want France to remain of course, and I would like to go even further and invite Canada as a full memberstate. Anyway, there has to be a way to lay out a plan for a very ambitious space programme for Europe without holding what appears to be an endless string of meetings and conferences.

I am sure that ESA and Russia will finally agree on a space transportation concept, but I am worried that some politicians and bureaucrats with a mindboggling shortsightedness will step in the way and delay the whole thing, or cancel it altogether.

What everyone needs to understand is that space exploration and colonisation is a longterm endeavour, and therefore spans over longer periods of time than that between two elections. Unless ESA wants to develop their own crewed spacecraft, the CSTS with Russia is the best bet.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Dec 30, 2007 10:22 am
The problem with ESA is that it is not an agency of the EU which would be much better - one expensive council removed, budget saved, ESA would get democratically decided budgets, controlled by the European Parliament to a larger degree it might be a prototype of an international space agency then.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Dec 30, 2007 11:13 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
The problem with ESA is that it is not an agency of the EU which would be much better - one expensive council removed, budget saved, ESA would get democratically decided budgets, controlled by the European Parliament to a larger degree it might be a prototype of an international space agency then.

I agree. ESA should be made an EU agency, though non-EU countries should still remain as memberstates of course.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:24 pm
An agency might improve things but I see the problem of different countries only wanting to spend money in specific areas still being a problem. You are never going to get a central fund with ESA being able to determine itself what to spend the money on.

I still find it incomprehensible that they dont have manned craft of their own, I mean how long can you continue to hitch lifts with everyone at some point you need your own vehicle. Starting to develop one now (already late IMO) would at least enable them to have better access to ISS and use Columbus more efficiently.

For Pete's sake build a vehicle. :evil: :evil:

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Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 31, 2007 8:46 am
We should never have cancelled the Hermes, it would have advanced technology enough so that we could develop something with beyond-LEO capability after that. But in the situation we are now, we need a new transportation system. The Americans won't have any incentives to let ESA astronauts hitch a ride with them after they retire the shuttle. The Russians would have to let us buy seats onboard their Soyuz since we need to get to the ISS too.

I really hope that we are wise enough to hop onboard the CSTS project with Russia. (Hopefully Japan and India joins the CSTS too.) That way, Europe would get independent access to space, which means not only ISS, but the Moon and later on Mars. Should Europe's space ambitions be reduced to hired seats on future Lunar or Mars landings? We have the technology and industry and the ability to develop them enough so that we can't escape the fact that the choice is ours.

A centralised budget and directions from the EU might be what we need in order to really get a clear set of goals and to lay out an ambitious space programme.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:21 am
Biggest problem for ESA is Europe itself. I live 40 km from Germany, 10 from Belgium, about 100km from France and Luxembourg. They all have their own languages, habits and meaning for words. Not everyone, if anyone, does fully understand English to communicate properly and swiftly. It takes time to translate if people haven't had English as their second language from age 10.

Look at Airbus and the 380. We all know that story. If it was designed and built in one and the same country, they would never had have those absurd delays because of absurd reasons. Call it a design flaw, but in essence it's just an error in communication. Yes it could happen to an all-US-company, but it's far more likely to happen in Europe where different parts of the company are in different countries all together.

Government agencies are not an ideal place for progress imo. Simply too much bureacracy. It would simply go into the direction NASA went. To many people will work there to cut spendings to that, it will cause a lot of angry people without jobs.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:02 am
Maverick wrote:
We should never have cancelled the Hermes, it would have advanced technology enough so that we could develop something with beyond-LEO capability after that.


I think that it was pushing the technology to far at the time, they should have started with a capsule. Today I think that ESA could build a mini-shuttle cew carrier itself a lot easier. ESA was basically faced with a choice either Ariane 5 or Hermes and it made more sense to build Ariane.

Maverick wrote:
I really hope that we are wise enough to hop onboard the CSTS project with Russia. (Hopefully Japan and India joins the CSTS too.) That way, Europe would get independent access to space, which means not only ISS, but the Moon and later on Mars.


I'm not so sure this is such a good idea anymore, I originally thought that ESA should get involved with Klipper but I dont think that would be as attractive as it was. All I see happening here is everyone subsidising the Russians to build a new craft which they will basically control, this is not independant space access. Given that the Russian economy is gettig much stronger and they are getting revenue from their fuel sales to other countries they could spend a little of that on CSTS to get it built.

Maverick wrote:
A centralised budget and directions from the EU might be what we need in order to really get a clear set of goals and to lay out an ambitious space programme.


I think it unlikely that countries will cough up hundreds of millions of Euros to be spent on projects that they dont believe are important enough to warrant it. Like NASA there is also the problem of where the money is spent and that countries contributing money will expect a large percentage of it to be spent in their country.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:28 am
The Europeans (again a French project to be precise) tested a capsule on one of the early Ariane 5 flights. The ARD (Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator) was designed after Apollo capsules and was successfully flown and recovered but no follow-up project was undertaken.

As far as I remember they are currently considering to fly another ARD as part of the FLPP to get more data on reentry but I'm not 100% sure about that. Could also be that this only was a proposal that got rejected.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:05 am
Andy Hill wrote:
I'm not so sure this is such a good idea anymore, I originally thought that ESA should get involved with Klipper but I dont think that would be as attractive as it was. All I see happening here is everyone subsidising the Russians to build a new craft which they will basically control, this is not independant space access. Given that the Russian economy is gettig much stronger and they are getting revenue from their fuel sales to other countries they could spend a little of that on CSTS to get it built.

Wouldn't it be possible that the development is made both by Russia and ESA, while both decide on how to use them in their own space programmes? Or am I misunderstanding things? I thought that ESA wanted in on this in order not to be a "second-class partner" as they put it.

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I think it unlikely that countries will cough up hundreds of millions of Euros to be spent on projects that they dont believe are important enough to warrant it. Like NASA there is also the problem of where the money is spent and that countries contributing money will expect a large percentage of it to be spent in their country.

But what if the European space budget became part of each state's EU budget?


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Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:30 am
Stefan Sigwarth wrote:
Biggest problem for ESA is Europe itself. I live 40 km from Germany, 10 from Belgium, about 100km from France and Luxembourg. They all have their own languages, habits and meaning for words. Not everyone, if anyone, does fully understand English to communicate properly and swiftly. It takes time to translate if people haven't had English as their second language from age 10.

I was under the impression that all western European countries taught English in their schools. I can't imagine how horrible if that had not been the case in Sweden! I would be utterly cut off from the rest of the world, what loss it would be. It's irresponsible not to teach at least one second language in schools.

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Look at Airbus and the 380. We all know that story. If it was designed and built in one and the same country, they would never had have those absurd delays because of absurd reasons. Call it a design flaw, but in essence it's just an error in communication. Yes it could happen to an all-US-company, but it's far more likely to happen in Europe where different parts of the company are in different countries all together.

I agree that some cooperative efforts have not worked out as originally planned, but I'm very much in favour of the EU and continued integration, even so far as to form a federation of some sort. I think that we either have to give up and accept that international cooperation is too difficult, or we could decide that it's simply how we need to do really large scale projects. Also, in the future I see nationstates fade away more and more, in Europe especially if nowhere else. As I see it, we are more or less forced to learn how to work together.


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