Author Topic: British Space Agency / UKSA Master Thread  (Read 133159 times)

Offline kraisee

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #20 on: 10/02/2005 07:56 PM »
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Chris Bergin - 1/10/2005  4:25 PM

Pretty damn close!

Ascention would be a great location.   And KSC actually sets the prescedent that a wildlife reserve can co-habitate easily with a wildlife refuge - so the vocal community of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds on Ascention could probably be convinced to let the island become a launch site without a massive uproar.   There's also a landing strip there and port already, so transportation would be relatively straight-forward.

Ascention would also probably become the only launch site in the world where equatorial and polar launches could be carried out into 'safe' uninhabited ocean terrain.

Another alternative would be the northern Indian Ocean coastline of Kenya, East Africa.   As a commonwealth country permissions would probably be fairly straight-forward (grease the right palms), probably similar to French Guianna's.   It is even closer to the equator (2 deg) than Ascention (8 deg) or even Kaurou (5 deg).   Actually, from there you could probably still do polar launches too...
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
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Offline FransonUK

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #21 on: 10/02/2005 08:06 PM »
Kenya! Yeah, good call, they're still with us right?
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Offline kraisee

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #22 on: 10/02/2005 08:09 PM »
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FransonUK - 1/10/2005  4:41 PM

Nothing you couldn't extend. Works for me. I really hope we stop throwing money at ESA as it's absolutely off the map of every UK citizen apart from a handful.

The only problem is that the UK has a relatively small population, so if you want to run a robust space program, it will be relatively more expensive for the UK population than for a larger country's.

For example, in budget year 2002/2003, the UK contributed about GB 188 million (~US $330m for our American readers) to ESA.   That equates to only about GB 3 per man, woman and child of the UK's 60 million population.

The US population (296 million people) each pays only US $54 (GB 30) per year for their entire space program.

To run a space program the size of the US (US $16Bn / 9,000,000,000), every man, woman and child in the UK would have to pony-up GB 133 (US $235) per year.

Do you think that's actually likely?

For my tax money, I say lets encourage British industry to step up to the plate and make some of the critically needed elements of the program now being started (and funded!) by the US.

Become invaluable to that program by producing the very best possible product to fulfill an important role in the bigger picture, instead of having to pay for the whole thing.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline SimonShuttle

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #23 on: 10/02/2005 08:10 PM »
Yeah, they are Commenwealth. The way it worked was we owned a third of the planet when we were the only superpower, then rather than risking massive wars like what happened with the US, we gave them they indipendance if they wanted to stay in a bracket of the Commenwealth. That's worked well with the likes of Canada, Austrailia, New Zealand, India (I think are still in) and the African countries.

The African countries are a good example. We're the only foriegn country to have an alliance with the Zulus out of respect of a battle we 'drew' with them (see the Michael Caine film).

Offline SimonShuttle

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #24 on: 10/02/2005 08:11 PM »
So. How much (pretend) to get our own program going? ESA gets 2.9 billion Euros a year from the Euro countries, we could throw double that if there was a need?

Oops, didn't see your post Kraisee!

Offline FransonUK

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #25 on: 10/02/2005 08:13 PM »
For 11 quid a month consider me in for a NASA UK :)
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Offline kraisee

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #26 on: 10/02/2005 08:17 PM »
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SimonShuttle - 2/10/2005  4:11 PM

So. How much (pretend) to get our own program going? ESA gets 2.9 billion Euros a year from the Euro countries, we could throw double that if there was a need?

Oops, didn't see your post Kraisee!

Hehe! :)

My way to do it - keep on funding the ESA the way we do.   It's economically sound in return for the communication satellites and such resources we get from ESA.

But double that current budget, and allocate that new revenue to 'exploration'.   Sink the money into commecial industry in the UK.    There is a market out there for developing space hardware, but there needs to be a government backed injection of cash into the private sector in order to spark it off.

The UK could easily become a key player in the exploration mission which the US is beginning.   By allying ourselves with NASA, we could become *the* foremost supplier of critical modules in a few key fields.   That way we would get to be on the cutting edge of this exploration program without having to foot the entire massive bill ourselves.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
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Offline kraisee

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #27 on: 10/02/2005 08:21 PM »
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FransonUK - 2/10/2005  4:13 PM

For 11 quid a month consider me in for a NASA UK :)

If the UK were to duplicate the ESA's program ourselves, every UK citizen would have to pay 33 each.
If the UK were to duplicate the US's program ourselves, every UK citizen would have to pay 133 each.

Where does the 11 figure come from?   I must have missed something... :)
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Online Chris Bergin

RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #28 on: 10/02/2005 08:37 PM »
She said 11 pounds a month - you said 133 a year. 11x12=132

;)

And your figure is on whether it would all come out of income tax. Doesn't work that way in econmics.

Offline kraisee

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #29 on: 10/03/2005 03:06 AM »
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Chris Bergin - 2/10/2005  4:37 PM

She said 11 pounds a month - you said 133 a year. 11x12=132

;)

Told ya I must have missed something ;)


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And your figure is on whether it would all come out of income tax. Doesn't work that way in econmics.

Certainly not just income tax - the UK is even better at creating new and hidden 'stealth' taxes than our US cousins are.   Trust me, I'd bet that many different taxes, such as the 85% tax which makes Regular UK petrol prices equivalent to $6/gallon, would be increased further to subsidise such a program.

The only broad means of explaining how much it'll cost to individuals though is to generalise based on easily understood figures.   *IF* the entire budget were to be spread equally across every individual ion those nations, my numbers would be about right - but obviously they wouldn't be.   In theory, the rich should pay a higher percentage of that bill, the poor should pay less.

But if we're going to be a little more pedantic about this generalised argument, I tried to cover my butt by using the phrase 'every man, woman and child'to create the mean average payment figure for every person in said countries.   With no available specific figures for this hypothetical British Space Program anyway, it is meant to provide a broadly comparative indicator (assuming similar percentage mix of rich, middle-class and poor in both countries) for us to use for comparing broad figures with.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline Space101

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #30 on: 10/03/2005 04:37 AM »
It works out a lot more than six dollars a gallon by my maths, but you have a point.

If we can spend 100 billion on defence without any real problem, we can do a lot. We are, under this very good government, a pretty rich country!
Let's go and explore space.

Offline SimonShuttle

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #31 on: 10/03/2005 03:50 PM »
But we'd have to get a load back from it if se did and that's the problem I think.

Offline kraisee

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #32 on: 10/03/2005 04:25 PM »
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SimonShuttle - 3/10/2005  11:50 AM

But we'd have to get a load back from it if se did and that's the problem I think.

Well, I believe one of the driving forces behind the Chinese and US lunar programs is the exploitation of Helium 3 resources there.

He3, if you don't know already, is used in Nuclear Fusion Reactors, which is the newer Nuclear power cousin to regular Nuclear Fission Reactors in use today.   Theoretically, Fusion offers cleaner, cheaper and safer Nuclear production than Fission does.

He3 however, is very rare on the Earth, and so is very expensive.   I understand it is really quite plentiful in the lunar regolith, and an economical model already exists showing that mining for it on the moon would be an financially profitable source of fuel.

Now, we all know the oil supplies which power our world today will run out sooner or later.   It is my belief that the US and China plan to go to the moon partly to become suppliers of He3 to the rest of the world.   Either nation, or both, will then become the equivalent of OPEC today - and they will be able to set their own prices to everyone else.

Can anyone else see a reason why ESA or the UK might find a motivation to get on with their own lunar programs soon?
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
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Offline FransonUK

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #33 on: 10/03/2005 04:54 PM »
I didn't know that about the moon, very interesting! We're running out of coal and the oil in the North sea won't last forever, so that would work with me.
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Offline nacnud

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #34 on: 10/04/2005 01:44 PM »
Moon 3He is a very speculative resource. We are decades away from comercial fusion reactors and a D+3He reactor has ten times the ignition temperature of a D+D reactor. Plus 3He in luna regolith is in the parts per billion range.

As for ESA moon science I think a far side luna radio telescope would be a worthy goal. A comercail reason is harder to think of :(

Offline kraisee

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #35 on: 10/04/2005 03:54 PM »
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nacnud - 4/10/2005  9:44 AM

A comercail reason is harder to think of :(

A Sci-Fi book I read when I was a kid comes to mind on this issue actually.   I'm at a loss right now for what the title and author are (maybe someone here will recognise it).   The premise was that a human colony had been set-up on a fairly large asteroid.   They had excavated out the core of the asteroid and built a settlement inside.

However, during the excavation work, the robotic miners had separated out all the valuable minerals and stockpiled them.

As you said, the parts-per-million numbers were low, however because of the enormous quantities involved in such a huge mining operation, they ended up with huge stocks of valuable things like gold, titianium, platinum and even diamonds as a nice by-product.

I could forsee something similar being possible on the moon.

I would suggest a significantly large fleet of automated mining drones, each mining a small amount per day.   They work continuously day-in and day-out for years, sifting regolith (or mining deeper underground) for normally useful materials like hydrogen, oxygen, iron, copper, silicone and even providing simple 'soil' for plant-growth in a lunar colony.

The drones just leave behind them a trail of processed materials in some sort of container for pickup by humans later.

Instead of just discarding all other materials barring those common requirements above, the drones would also extract rarer materials too, in their smaller quantities.   They would then slowly start to build stockpiles of such treasures.

Once you've got automated drones sifting lunar dirt for minerals anyway, it doesn't take much more to have them separate *everything* useful out.

A few decades of continuous mining in this fashion would probably turn out quite a significant quantitiy of any of these materials.

Its just a pet-project idea which, frankly, I wish I knew more technical knowledge about - but I do believe the general concept is sound.
"The meek shall inherit the Earth -- the rest of us will go to the stars"
-Robert A. Heinlein

Offline SimonShuttle

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #36 on: 10/04/2005 04:27 PM »
I'd rather us spend something on national pride, that might make us some decent cash in the future, than spend it on housing and paying benefits for illegal immigrents.

I'm a Tory, can you tell? ;)

Offline FransonUK

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #37 on: 10/04/2005 10:01 PM »
Tory boy for sure!

So while this is a fun thread, there's very little chance the UK will be open to this idea?
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Offline Space101

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #38 on: 10/04/2005 11:32 PM »
Has the UK ever considered buying NASA time for space ventures?
Let's go and explore space.

Offline NASA_LaRC_SP

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RE: British Space Agency
« Reply #39 on: 10/04/2005 11:37 PM »
Well there's a London based sat communication company that has used Delta IVs. I can't think of any UK government sponsored NASA business.

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