Do MP’s really think we could do a future Moon Landing?

Moon
Moon (Photo credit: penguinbush)

I saw this when reading Hansard this morning. It’s a written answer from Friday where an MP (Mr Amess) asked:

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he plans to provide funding for space projects related to a future moon landing; what discussions the UK Space Agency has had with the US administration on this matter; and if he will make a statement. [119768]

Ok, so where the hell did a moon landing come from? Now the response was as expected:

Mr Willetts: No funds are allocated to develop missions for a future moon landing, and at present we have no firm plans to commit to a moon project. The UK Space Agency is a member of the International Space Exploration Co-ordination Group (ISECG) which includes NASA. ISECG is engaged in multi-lateral discussions on future space exploration of the Moon, Mars and asteroids, as described on its website:

http://www.globalspaceexploration.org/

The link being the International Space Exploration Coordination Group which the UKSA is a member but I’m just wondering, where would the money come from, especially in this current financial climate?

© Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament. Licence No: P2011000006

The EU & Space Weather monitoring

Whilst doing my daily read through Hansard on the train is morning I came across this written answer in the House of Lords about monitoring Space Weather:

Question
Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have, in collaboration with other European countries and the European Space Agency, to establish a European system for monitoring, forecasting and disseminating information on space weather. [HL839]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The UK Space Agency is working with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop a space situational awareness programme. An element of this programme covers the development of operational space weather monitoring facilities, including space borne instruments, ground based sensors and telescopes. A further element of the programme addresses the provision and dissemination of space weather forecasts and event warnings by setting up a pilot space weather service centre with expert advisers, a support helpdesk, an archive and a web portal.

This is an optional ESA programme and UK participation must be subject to review against other calls on the space agency budget. A draft business case supporting participation has been prepared by agency staff in consultation with the UK space weather community and interested stakeholders.

© Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament. Licence No: P2011000006

Uk budget for Space Technology is only £10m this year

This is a written answer made in the UK parliament yesterday & shows now our government still doesn’t get space technology. I’m surprised on how much we actually do with so little government support. To be honest most members of the public wouldn’t even know how important the UK space industry really is:

Space Technology: Finance

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what funding he has allocated to the National Space Technology Programme in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and what the projected funding is in (a) 2012-13 and (b) 2013-14. [113837]

Mr Willetts: The National Space Technology Programme is a new UK Space Agency programme announced in the 2011 Budget to promote growth in the UK space sector. £10 million was allocated and will have been fully awarded in competition to industry by the end of 2012-13. Aided by private sector investment and support from other Government organisations, the total programme volume is expected to reach £27 million.

© Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament. Licence No: P2011000006

Square Kilometre Array Telescope mentioned in Parliament

Whilst checking hansard (the official publication of the UK Parliament) for Trainwatch I spotted this set of written answers published yesterday (26 March 2012) about the Square Kilometre Array Telescope:

Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on implementation of the recommendations of the Square Kilometre Array Site Advisory Committee; and if he will make a statement. [101678]

Mr Willetts: Members of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation will consider the report and recommendation of the SKA Site Advisory Committee, and agree on next steps and actions. The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) represents the UK in the SKA Organisation and it liaises closely with the Department on SKA discussions.

Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will publish the location recommended by the independent Square Kilometre Array Site Advisory Committee; and if he will make a statement. [101956]

Mr Willetts: The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Site Advisory Committee has undertaken a detailed evaluation of the two candidate sites and has presented its report and recommendation on the preferred site for the SKA to the SKA Board.

All parties involved have agreed that this information should remain confidential while the process for arriving at the SKA site location decision is under way.

Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

  1. whether the independent Square Kilometre Site Advisory Committee has completed its evaluation of the cost and infrastructure implications of the African and Australian and New Zealand bids to host the Square Kilometre Array telescope; and if he will make a statement; [101957]
  2. whether the independent Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Advisory Committee has submitted its recommendations regarding the location of the SKA; and if he will make a statement. [101958]


Mr Willetts: The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Site Advisory Committee has undertaken a detailed evaluation of the two candidate sites and has presented its report and recommendation on the preferred site for the SKA to the SKA Board.

© Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO on behalf of Parliament. Licence No: P2011000006

Can you name all of the Space Shuttles?

Discovery safe back at landing strip. Cropped ...
Image via Wikipedia

Over the last few months this question has cropped up every so often – specifically when saying which museum is going to receive each Space Shuttle – something that’s still open to debate as the decision process appears to be flawed.

Anyhow, can you name all of them?

If you as most people they’ll hopefully answer with:

  • Columbia
  • Challenger
  • Discovery
  • Atlantis
  • Endeavour

Sadly most haven’t heard of the others & yes there are others, it depends on what exactly you mean when asking the question – the question was name all of the shuttles – I didn’t say those that actually flew in space 😉

Here’s the ones I know of, listed in the order they were built:

Enterprise (OV-101)

Built in 1974-76 she flew for the first time in 1977 from the back of a Boeing 747 and retired in 1979. Although it was planned to refit her for actual space flight the modifications were just too expensive.

Pathfinder (OV-098 honorary)

Built in 1977 as a test simulator made of steel & wood, Pathfinders purpose was to provide a test bed for training ground crew in mating an actual shuttle. She was sold to the Japanese who then spent US$1M in refurbishing her to resemble a full shuttle before being displayed in Tokyo. Since 1988 she’s been on display in Huntsville, Alabama.

Columbia (OV-102)

Built in 1975 she was the first to actually fly into space. She made 28 flights from April 12 1981 until she was lost on February 1 2003.

Challenger (OV-099)

Originally an engineering test bed, Challenger was built in 1979 and flew 10 missions from April 4 1983 until she was lost on January 28 1986.

Discovery (OV-103)

Built in 1979 flew 39 missions between August 30 1984 and February 24 2011.

Atlantis (OV-104)

Built in 1980 and flew 33 missions between October 1985 and July 2011.

Endeavour (OV-105)

Built in 1987 to replace Challenger she flew 25 missions between May 1992 and June 2011. She was built out of spares from Discovery & Atlantis as that was cheaper than having 2 new shuttles built (which Rockwell offered at the cost of 1 original shuttle).

Explorer

A full scale replica built in 1993, located at Kennedy Space Centre.