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Old 04-05-2012, 09:24 AM   #16
Notebook
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Originally Posted by Ark View Post
 At this rate I wouldn't be surprised to see the ESA close up shop entirely in the next decade.

Closing down vehicle production without even a hint of replacement, sounds like something they learned from another space agency...
Yes its been done before:

http://www.spaceuk.org/ba/blackarrowcancellation.htm

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Commercial applications were non existent. Black Arrow, with its limited payload could no more have launched communications satellites than a microlight could be used to deliver mail across the Atlantic.

Another factor was the frequency of launches. A minimum of at least a launch a year was needed to make the project worthwhile. Launch teams need to be assembled, and once assembled, it makes sense to keep them assembled. Launching every eighteen months or two years means starting again from scratch. The launch site would have to be 'mothballed' between launches unless there was a reasonable frequency of launch. As the R.A.E.'s technology satellites: there was one more after Prospero (X3) - the X4 satellite, named Miranda, launched by a American Scout. The demise of the R.A.E. programme would have left Black Arrow with no prospect of any payload, and thus no purpose at all
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The current programme gives us too few Black Arrow to establish the vehicle as a proven launcher in a reasonable timescale, and too many to meet our requirements for satellite launches. It is therefore not a viable programme at present, and there is no easy way out of the dilemma.
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The Ministry should determine at a high level the views of British industry on the value of a technological satellite programme. If no such value can be identified the programme should be brought to a stop. If it is established that the programme is worthwhile, a plan should be drawn up for a series of future satellites so organised as to give the maximum benefit to British firms in their attempts to win contracts in the international market.
It is difficult to argue with his conclusions, nor, indeed, with his recommendations.
All very sensible at the time, and that was the end of the UK launch program

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Old 04-05-2012, 11:39 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by N_Molson View Post
 Yes, and don't forget China too quickly. 1 terran out of 5 is chinese, and they are developping a promising space program.
Three manned flights within 9 years does not look very promising if you ask me. But at least it looks way more promising than what ESA does - nothing, manned (on their own). ESA does not inspire me. And by ending the ATV program it becomes more non-inspiring. But, well, that's Europe. I'm used to expect either little to nothing, or the worst.

The most inspiring stuff at the moment doesn't even come from NASA. It comes from SpaceX if you ask me. If they manage manned flights and make their reusability concepts become reality, then wow...
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:18 AM   #18
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Skylon...
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