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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    Posted on: Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:05 pm
There's still a problem with regards to languages. How many French people do you know that speak English? How many British people do you know which speaks German? Etc.

I did an audit in France 3 years ago, and I had huge problems... The company uses English as mandatory written language, and all team leaders and senior people attend a one week English course every year, but still they just smile and nod, no matter what you ask them.

It's easy to find out what the knowledge of foreign languages in a country is, just by looking at how many movies and series they are dubbing instead of just slapping on some sub-titles.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:32 pm
I agree, but what i meant with the language, like IrquiM says. For some countries it's easier then others. For example in France it's extremely troubling, but i heard that that's getting better.

But as soon as translating begins, all hell will break loose. Yes, technical terms shouldn't be translated, but tell that to those people who are simply stubbern or just 'proud of their country'.

Regarding subtitles, it's a good way to learn English pretty quickly, but soon you will be annoyed by bad translations.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:54 pm
Maverick wrote:
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.


Possibly but a lot of things would need to be worked out. For instance what launch vehicle would be used, why would ESA fund a Russian booster to put it in orbit when it should be possible to use Arianne, they would be financing a competitor. If the craft were designed specifically for a Russian booster then ESA might have to consider aiding the Russians in development of that rocket to minimise delays.

Another problem most of the money will be spent in Russia not Europe building up their space infrastructure and this would be not a lot of difference IMO to ESA spending money with a commercial US company like Lockheed or Boeing and I dont see anyone advocating that.

Even after the craft has been built ESA will still have to pay for seats for their astronauts so what is the difference? Paying for seats on a craft probably launched from Russia sounds pretty familiar to me. Having Japan and India involved as well will only complicate things further and lead to more delays and tensions due to national pride. Whoever works with the Russians are likely to be the "junior" partner in the project it would be so much better for Europe to build their own vehicle.

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


I dont see this making any difference at all, NASA's budget comes from congress but the individual states still veto or change anything they dont like. Exactly the same would happen within the EU.

Klaus

I thought the ARD project showed promise and am glad they are thinking of coninuing it.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 01, 2008 12:42 pm
If ESA were made an EU-agency the funds the council of ministers has to decide on simply would be paid to the EU. Those funds are parts of the governmental budgets already - they only would be turned into additional EU-funds and he ministers that a members of according EU-councils would have to ensure that they go to ESA as EU-agency.

The funds would first go to the EU-commissioner of Science and Research.

The main problem with ESA regarding vehicles may be that there are countries that don't want to do manned missions - like Germany for some time. The according ministers are hindered by decisions of parliaments or the government they are members of and are forced to behave so that no misunderstandings at home can occur: politics. This might be solved if ESA were made an EU-agency with a EU-commissioner at the top.

Next ESA and the EU should try to take advantage of private space projects like Virgin Galactic, Starchaser, Talis-Institut and others - they are private and no politician can stop them like the Council of Ministers does regarding ESA.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 01, 2008 12:56 pm
Well, just as a short comment: Politicians can stop the private industry. Just deny them flight licenses because of safety or whatever concerns.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 02, 2008 9:36 am
Hello, Klaus,

I agree that in general politicians can stop nearly everything including private space industry.

But in free democratic countries like the US, Germany and even all the other EU-countries they are forced to accord to the constitutions.

These constitutions provide certain rules which ensure freedom and democracy and block totalitarism, dictatorship and the like.

Because of this no politician can deny flight licenses as long as there are no explicit rules that can be applied to deny them - otherwise they would behave arbitraryly and thus hurt the constitutions. If there are explicit rules and the private space industry accords to them the politicians are forbidden to deny - or more precisely the responsible agency.

Because of this the only circumstances that can stop the private space industry are decisions by the shareholders, the management, lack of capital/funds or the market. The Council of Ministers can't step them - it only can stop ESA.

As far as agencies like FAA struggle to stop privates by denying licenses they take a superproportionally increasing risk to be taken to the courts by the industry - up to the constitutional court.

Often I feel the desire that the private industry really does so.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:18 am
Ekkehard

there is no such thing as a set of explicit rules that are Europe wide, every bit of EU legislation I have heard of has been overly complicated and riddled with vagueness.

There are numerous opt out clauses which would allow individual nations to not contribute to an EU manned space program. You cant force governments to spend money on stuff if they feel there are not sufficient returns or interest within there indiginous peoples. Afterall all could apply the exact same principle to aid to 3rd world countries making it compulsary for each government to spend a required amount but that is not going to happen either even though many would consider that a much worthier cause than space flight.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:44 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

yes, that's correct. It's the reason - or one of the reasons - why ESA is hindered so often as it is at present.

These reasons would be removed or reduced at least if ESA were made an EU-egency with a EU-commisioner on top. Then simply tax-money national governments nonetheless must pay to the EU might be awarded to ESA as budget - like done in the US regarding NASA.

The tax money given not to the EU at present but to ESA would be added to the tax-money already going to ESA at present.

Regarding the rules I didn't have in mind EU-wide explicit ruls but existing rules at all. there is no EU-country where any agency can do anything without rules. The rules must be listed explicitly in laws and bills or in decrees based on laws. All the rules, laws, bills and decrees must accord to the constitution of the particular country and even laws, bills and decrees by the EU-commission must fit into each country's constitutíon if it they shold be valid in each country.

No government and no agency can stop or hinder anything within any EU-country without laws etc. listing or describing rules.

Complexity and vagueness allways tends to lead to lawsuits at courts against the EU-commission or against the national government and its agencies. Here in Germany this occurs again and again and also again and again german governments and agencies lose such lawsuits at the constitutional court.

As far as this stops private industries it aren't the politicians that stop them - they often really have in mind to - but chaos politicians have caused and set up because of extremely limited overview, extreme lack of consciousness of responsibility and extremely limited horizon. Such "stops" are "delays" or "obstacles" merely that never have been intended but are caused by stupidity.

What Klaus has said - licenses - is intended regulation while complexity etc. is something quite different and general.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:36 am
All I'm saying is that the slowest most complicated way to get anything done is via a committte and the EU is the biggest committee possible (in fact a committe of committes).

Another thing to consider is not all the countries within the EU have a space industry and will consider spending money on space as not beneficial to them. The minute you exempt anyone any policy ceases to be an EU policy just a collection of countries with similar interests.

You are right about stupidity within the EU, the UK recently had market sellers prosecuted for marking up prices of fruit and vegetables by the lb rather than Kilo (even though they had displayed both SI and imperial pricing side by side). Apparantly only the cost per kilogram should be displayed. Against a background of such stupidity you cant expect the EU to have a unified space policy.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:30 pm
Andy Hill wrote:
Another thing to consider is not all the countries within the EU have a space industry and will consider spending money on space as not beneficial to them. The minute you exempt anyone any policy ceases to be an EU policy just a collection of countries with similar interests.


And a third is that not all ESA countries are members of EU. For the ones that speak a Scandinavian language, there is an excellent article in "Teknisk Ukeblad" - tu.no (technical magazine), about Norwegian Space technology and industry. Haven't found a good Norwegian to English translation tool yet, but here's the link if you find one: http://www.tu.no/romfart/article128528.ece


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:28 am
Hello, IrquiM,

The circumstance that not all ESA-members are EU-members might be solved easyly.

a) An EU space agency is founded and the EU becomes a member of ESA - if it isn't already - and only the payments of those ESA-members that are EU-members also are redirected to the EU and its commissioner responsible for the EU space agebcy.

b) Non-EU-members are made limited members with the limitation being the membership in the EU space agency which then really might be ESA. In the private industry EADS might be an example from which proper ways might be learnt. There are companies that a part of EADS partially only...

c) An EU space agency is set up so that Non-EU-members don't experience no changes in comparison to ESA. This might be done via the concept of virtual enterprises.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 03, 2008 2:07 pm
and d)

Leave EU out of it, and use EEC.


I just wanted to make a point about EU not being all the countries in Europe; the richest one is not in it. (And the EU opposition in Norway calls EU a gentlemans club - how ironic!)


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 03, 2008 2:59 pm
Hello, IrquiM,

if I remember correct EU is a kind of union between the EEC and the EFTA. There is an agreement that members of the EU can either follow the rule of the EEC that the external tarifs have to be identical or the rule of the EFTA that the external tarifs can be different. Both - EEC and EFTA - have in common that there are no tarifs between their memebers each which then has been extended to the EU.

In so far I have problems to identify any impacts of the choice between EEC and EFTA on any EU space agency.

Where do I misunderstand you?



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Post    Posted on: Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:10 pm
Sorry - typo, I meant EEA

However, I don't want ESA to be destroyed by even more bureaucracy that it is today (I think it's actually pretty good compared to a lot out there), and I don't think including it in something like EU is the way to go. Instead maybe there should be a change in how it's operated. Maybe a requirement of a certain percentage of GDP or something to be a permanent member.

And remember, even Canada is supporting ESA, and has been part of it for almost 30 years. Including it in EU would make things like that harder, and also maybe make cooperation with other agencies more difficult. It's better how it is now, with most EU countries being a member alongside other countries (Norway and Switzerland) with Canada as a strong, supporting player. The main thing is to get a steady financial income.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:06 am
Hello, IrquiM,

since I can't remember at present - what is the EEA? Is it the european pendant of the FAA?



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