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Britsh lunar mission (?)

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Wed Jan 10, 2007 12:48 pm
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Britsh lunar mission (?) 
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Post Britsh lunar mission (?)   Posted on: Wed Jan 10, 2007 12:48 pm
The newsticker under www.welt.de is reporting that there are british plans for an unmanned mission to the Moon. The article is referring to BBC.

The talk is about four large projectiles in 2010. The mission also would look to the far side of the Moon.

The plans are worked out by a private company ordered bythe british research council of Astronomy and Physics of Particles (PParc). It is not yet an official proposal to the government.

The head of the company Surrey Satellite Technology, Martin Sweeting, is quoted to have said that the costs could be reduced to 20% of the costs today's smaller lunar mission have. These 20% then would be Euro 100 mio.

The first mission would reserach Moonquakes by instrument digged two meters deep into the lunar soil. The second mission would look for proper locations for a manned lunar outpost.

Andy Hill, do you have more informatiosn about it?



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:56 pm
The article seems to suggest a wholy UK mission, but I wonder if they are including the launcher. We only have starchaser as indiginous, and I am not sure they would be capable in the timescale - so I am thinking the intend to use foreign launchers (Russia, USA, Japan, probably non-governmental?).

Hopefully we would have more luck than the Mars probe...

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:58 pm
Hello Ekkehard

Yes I've seen this story reported in a number of places, here is the bbc article you refer to:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6246513.stm

As far as I can make out this is just a concept at the moment and has not been submitted to the UK government for consideration. Given the the current financial pressures in Britain with things like Bush's little foreign scrap I cant see it ever being funded, mores the pity. I believe the UK has the skills and facilities to mount such a lunar mission but will not cough up the money to do so. IMO this is just Surrey Satellite Technology trying to drum up some business and a bit of publicity (Much like SpaceDev with its alternative Lunar strategy of using rocket chairs).

Of more interest was this article that appeared in The Space Review advocating a UK astronaut program.

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/780/1

Such articles appear from time to time without any discernable impact on UK space policy but what is interesting is that there does seem to be some momentum building for the UK to be more involved in space. For example UK space policy is being looked at more closely and the general public as well as the civil/military space industry are being asked for their views.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jh ... ace108.xml

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 10, 2007 4:15 pm
The British do have a track record of great capability in aerospace without enough money to actually do much with it. Two cases where they did take the projects to completion, the Comet and Concorde, were unfortunately not as successful as hoped. I seem to recall Wernher von Braun saying that when considering where he would end up after the war, he though England would not be good only because they could not afford him.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:26 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
The British do have a track record of great capability in aerospace without enough money to actually do much with it.


I agree we do tend to get a lot done with little money which is why I always feel frustrated that we do not invest more in space (especially since we are one of the richest countries in the world:- something like the 5th richest I think). I was on holiday a couple of years back on the Isle of Wight and made a point of seeing where they did some of the engine tests for the blue streak program, it was all a little sad.

Here's an article which gives David Parker's (the director of space science at the British National Space Centre) view on the reported UK moon mission.

http://www.spacedaily.com/2006/07011017 ... yw7ht.html

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:19 am
Andy Hill wrote:

I agree we do tend to get a lot done with little money which is why I always feel frustrated that we do not invest more in space (especially since we are one of the richest countries in the world:- something like the 5th richest I think).


I hope you don't mind this personal, but about the richest country is how you calculate it ;) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Top_20_GDP.png

Some stats only take the salary and others include free time and things like that. And those are probably a bit more realistic. You can't buy (free) time.

Investing more in space does not necessarily mean that you can get more done.

Anyway, i actually had a question on this topic. What is the advantage of 'going at it alone' instead of running this through ESA? I mean, they are a member afaik.

Another note/question in this part. With the new European arrivals this year, 'we', the EU, has more citizens then the USA. Okay, fair enough, they aren't all rich, but we could get a long way of getting a fair budget for ESA then the current +- 3 billion €. Whats the point of having national space organizations with a tiny budget?


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:30 am
Stefan Sigwarth wrote:
Andy Hill wrote:

I agree we do tend to get a lot done with little money which is why I always feel frustrated that we do not invest more in space (especially since we are one of the richest countries in the world:- something like the 5th richest I think).


I hope you don't mind this personal, but about the richest country is how you calculate it ;) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Top_20_GDP.png

Some stats only take the salary and others include free time and things like that. And those are probably a bit more realistic. You can't buy (free) time.


I have no problem with the UK being demoted down the list of wealthy countries to number 8 or even number 30 for that matter. :) My point was that at present the UK should be in a position to spend much more money than it presently does on its space program.

Stefan Sigwarth wrote:
Investing more in space does not necessarily mean that you can get more done.


True but investing much less normally results in a much lower return. You can be smart with what little you have but ultimately if you invest next to nothing then you will get very little back.

Stefan Sigwarth wrote:
[Anyway, i actually had a question on this topic. What is the advantage of 'going at it alone' instead of running this through ESA? I mean, they are a member afaik.


The main advantage I can see is that things might get done a little quicker and be more tuned to what an individual country is interested in rather than something a committee has decided.

Stefan Sigwarth wrote:
[Another note/question in this part. With the new European arrivals this year, 'we', the EU, has more citizens then the USA. Okay, fair enough, they aren't all rich, but we could get a long way of getting a fair budget for ESA then the current +- 3 billion €. Whats the point of having national space organizations with a tiny budget?


I'm all in favour of ESA but all its members are not involved in all its projects (the obvious example is the UK opting out of manned space flight). As I understand it there is not a central budget that funds everything, it is a collection of countries that do some projects together and tries to coordinate between individual space agencies. Most countries have their own space agencies which carry out projects outside ESA. Using ESA as the only outlet for your space agency (which is what the UK basically does may not be the best idea) and that having additional projects outside is a good thing also.

If you think about some of the problems that NASA has with various states being allocated money because of what they contribute and the NASA employees who live there (pork barrel politics I think they call it) and then apply the same rules across all the countries that are members of ESA then you can see how things maybe easier for an individual country to accomplish some things on its own.

In the UK's case why not fund someone like Starchaser on projects, a few million would make a big difference to their sounding rocket development for instance. Doing the same thing through ESA is likely to take longer, be more complicated and cost more. So while I dont think the UK should opt out of ESA, I do think that there is scope to do more on its own.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 11, 2007 11:57 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

Thank You Very Much for the links.



Hello, Stefan,

it might be that the bureaucracy of organizations like ESA as well as the circumstance that they are lead politically and by ministers of several different countries are taken as a reason to do something of ones own. To this also belongs that Italia develops a rocket or a space vehicle of their own.



In between there also is an article about it under www.space.com: "Report: England Eyes Solo Moon-bound Missions" ( www.space.com/news/ap_070110_england_moon.html )



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