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  ESA - JAXA - China - International
  Great Britain and space: what happened?

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Author Topic:   Great Britain and space: what happened?
GoesTo11
Member

Posts: 1026
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 06-18-2011 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why did Great Britain choose to sit out the (first) Space Age?

Why did the first truly global superpower, the nation that once ruled the seas, shepherded global commerce and trade, and exported the most successful and prosperous system of law and governance and the greatest infrastructural advancements in human history simply quit on the last truly new frontier?

Was it a failure of leadership, a result of conscientious policy decisions, or simply an inevitable consequence of Britain's abdication of the role of Western vanguard in the post-World War 2 era?

We have quite a few cSers over on the Olde Sod, and I'm particularly interested in reading their opinions and anecdotes on the subject, especially those old enough to have been bystanders in the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo era. What did you feel, watching the citizens of an endless parade of other nations circle the Earth and walk on the Moon, and why did this happen to a once great nation?

East-Frisian
Member

Posts: 398
From: Germany
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 06-18-2011 02:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for East-Frisian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Less money might be the reason.

issman1
Member

Posts: 888
From: UK
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 06-18-2011 02:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is no political will among the British ruling class to have a robust space programme similar to France, Germany or Italy.

I still remember how in the early 1990s the Conservative government single-handedly killed the European Space Agency's Hermes spaceplane, one of the main reasons for developing Ariane 5. Yet inspite of that and other moments of mediocrity, ESA chose a Briton in its 2009 class of astronauts. This was soon followed by the creation of the UK Space Agency, under Labour, though what it will do is anybody's guess.

Like the jet engine, British governments simply squandered and vanquished the chances for British engineers and scientists to be at the forefront of spaceflight activities. An example of this came in 2010, when funding was withdrawn for British researchers in the Cassini Solstice Mission. Did the UK Space Agency get it reinstated (if not then what's it for)?

All times are CT (US)

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