Tag Archives: United Kingdom

Landowners in Scotland sign lease for spaceport

The new colonial movement: The landowners for a planned commercial spaceport in Sutherland, Scotland, have now signed a 75-year lease with the spaceport developers.

Construction of the project is anticipated to begin next year with the UK Space Agency (UKSA) providing a grant of £2.5million to HIE, as well as funding two launch companies who will use the facility once it is operational.

I highlight the word “UK”, which stands for the United Kingdom, because that word indicates another very big unstated obstacle to this spaceport. The UK as a whole has voted to leave the European Union. The population of Scotland however voted against that exit, and its leaders have indicated that they will not go along with the plans of the new British prime minister, Boris Johnson, to exit, deal or no deal. In fact, they have indicated that they would instead want to leave the United Kingdom in that case.

Should that happen, the future of this spaceport will be threatened. The deals that have made it possible have come from the UK space agency, a entity that Scotland would no longer belong should it leave the United Kingdom.

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Boris Johnson to be next British PM

Boris Johnson has won the Tory party election to become the United Kingdom’s next prime minister.

In his victory speech, Mr Johnson promised he would “deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn”.

Speaking at the Queen Elizabeth II centre in London, he said: “We are going to energise the country. We are going to get Brexit done on 31 October and take advantage of all the opportunities it will bring with a new spirit of can do. [emphasis mine]

Johnson has made it very clear that he intends to bluntly honor the will of the voters and be out of the European Union as quickly as possible. Do not expect him to spend any time negotiating a fake exit deal that tries to avoid that exit, as did his predecessor Theresa May.

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UK smallsat rocket company unveils upper stage prototype

Capitalism in space: The smallsat rocket company Orbex yesterday unveiled a prototype of the upper stage of its Prime rocket.

UK launch services provider Orbex has unveiled a completed engineering prototype of the second stage for its Prime rocket at the opening of its new headquarters and rocket design facility in Forres in the Scottish Highlands. Prime is a small satellite launcher that is set to be the first UK rocket to launch UK satellites from a UK launch site. Orbex also announced two customers who have signed up for Prime launches.

They are aiming for 2021 for their first launch from the United Kingdom’s first spaceport in Sutherland in northern Scotland. Orbex and Lockheed Martin are the two companies that have a deal to use this spaceport.

The more significant part of this announcement that the two new launch agreements, from the smallsat satellite companies UK-based Surrey and Swiss-based Astrocast. This means that have some customers.

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UK names rover for 2020 ExMars mission

The United Kingdom has named its rover for 2020 ExMars mission in honor of Rosalind Franklin, one of the scientists who contributed to the discovery of the helix structure of DNA.

Franklin is best known for her work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA. Her data was a part of the data used to formulate Crick and Watson’s 1953 hypothesis regarding the structure of DNA. Unpublished drafts of her papers show that she had determined the overall B-form of the DNA helix. Her work supported the hypothesis of Watson and Crick and was published third in the series of three DNA Nature articles. After finishing her portion of the DNA work, Franklin led pioneering work on the tobacco mosaic and polio viruses. Franklin died from ovarian cancer at the age of 37, four years before Crick, Watson and Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962 for their work on DNA.

Though this isn’t entire clear from the press release, it appears that they will refer to the rover as either “Rosalind Franklin” or “Rosalind.”

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Local opposition might delay UK spaceport

The United Kingdom’s first spaceport, proposed for the northern tip of Scotland, faces strong opposition from the local community as well as within the organization that owns the land.

The land is controlled by the Melness Crofting Estate (MCE), a company that represents about 56 local crofters. Three of its seven directors have resigned over how the plans have been handled.

George Wyper, one of those who stepped down, claimed that much of the community had been kept in the dark. In a ballot, 27 crofters voted to press ahead with talks to lease land to the spaceport while 18 voted against. Ten failed to vote and one ballot was rejected. Mr Wyper believes that important details were not shared. ‘Some people did not know what they were voting for,’ he said. ‘It’s getting quite vicious here — with Facebook and things. It’s causing a split in the community.’

He told the Highland Press & Journal: ‘There is quite a split in the community and a lot of bad feeling about this. It could go to the Scottish Land Court, which could take years to resolve.’

While in many ways some aspects of the opposition here reminds me of the opposition in Hawaii to the Thirty Meter Telescope, the difference is that that here it a large percentage of the landowners protesting. They have real standing, and thus are in a much stronger position to shut the spaceport down.

From what I can gather, the source of the problem here falls to the UK government, which apparently has done a very bad job in negotiating this deal.

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Leftist thugs take over British college

Evergreen, with a British accent: A leftist cabal of antifa brownshirts has taken over King’s College London, with the administration there bowing to their demands that have shut down any dissent on campus.

The college now faces a scourge unprecedented in the U.K.: rampant violence against visiting speakers on campus. The violence is perpetrated by a small but organized coalition of radical leftist students. Rather than punish those students, the administration has opted to extend free-speech restrictions to the student groups targeted by the unrest. In the aftermath of Antifa’s disruption, the college enacted punitive restrictions on all of the upcoming activities of the Libertarian Society. The college even cancelled a scheduled talk about free speech with Dr. Adam Perkins, one of its own professors.

The administration is being held hostage by intolerant leftist students who dictate which ideas should be restricted through the threat of violence. Speakers associated with the far left are therefore given a free pass when invited onto campus, while conservative, libertarian, and pro-Israel groups are frequently forced to alter their events in order to allay extensive complaints from the agitators. Restrictions forced upon student events by the administration include the imposition of an extra speaker to create debate, a limit on the number of attendees, and, of course, the authoritarian Safe Space policy. The message these restrictions send is that “controversial” ideas, rather than autonomous individuals, drive violence on campus.

Read it all. It will appall you. I hope this college goes bankrupt. I would certainly not send my kids there.

Hat tip Robert Pratt of Pratt on Texas.

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Scotland’s first commercial rocket test flight

Capitalism in space: A private smallsat rocket company, Skyrora, has successfully completed a suborbital test flight, the first commercial rocket test flight in Scotland.

Skyrora saw its 2.5 metre (9ft) projectile reach altitudes of almost four miles after taking off at the Kildermorie Estate in Ross-shire. Known as Skylark Nano, it accelerated to Mach 1.45 – more than 110mph.

One could also describe Skylark Nano as nothing more than a big model rocket. Nonetheless, the company is using this test flight to improve its chances to win the competition for some of the money the UK government will award to private companies in connection with the establishment of its new spaceport in Sutherland, Scotland.

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UK estimates its new spaceport could capture thousands of smallsat launches

Capitalism in space: Estimates by the United Kingdom’s space agency suggest that its new spaceport in Scotland could capture thousands of smallsat launches by the end of the 2020s.

Figures released … suggest that existing ‘rideshare’ small satellite launches (small satellites piggybacking on larger missions) are capable of meeting less than 35% of the total demand. This reveals a significant gap in commercial small satellite launch provision for which future UK spaceports are well placed to compete.

The press release also gives an update on the recent actions of the two smallsat rocket companies, Orbex and Lockheed Martin (in partnership with Rocket Lab), to establish operations in Scotland.

It remains to be seen whether these predictions will come true. Right now it appears that a giant boom in the smallsat industry is about to happen, and if it does the need for launchpads will become critical. If so, the policy shift in the UK to favor private spaceflight is arriving at just the right time.

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United Kingdom picks location in Scotland for spaceport

The British government, after years of study, has chosen a location in northern Scotland for its first homegrown spaceport.

In a statement issued in advance of the start of the Farnborough International Airshow, the U.K. Space Agency said it will provide initial funding of 2.5 million pounds ($3.3 million) to begin development of a vertical launch site in Sutherland, on the Atlantic coast in northern Scotland.

In its announcement, the agency said it selected the site “because Scotland is the best place in the U.K. to reach highly sought-after satellite orbits with vertically launched rockets.” The site would allow launches to the north, supporting spacecraft operating in sun-synchronous or other highly inclined orbits.

The announcement gave few details about the facility or indicated what company, or companies, would use it, but noted launches would begin there in the early 2020s. More information is expected to be announced July 16 at the air show.

This announcement contradicts a 2016 policy decision that had instead opened up spaceport licensing to whatever location wished to do it. Now the British government appears to have stepped in and picked this one site, though the article also says they are considering a second site for horizontal launches, using such systems as the Pegasus rocket, Stratolaunch, and LauncherOne.

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New spaceport bill becomes law in the United Kingdom

The new colonial movement: A new bill designed to encourage the establishment of private or public spaceports in the United Kingdom has now become law.

If you wish to read the entire law, you can download it here [pdf] My quick review suggests it deals only with the regulations and liability issues necessary to encourage the creation of spaceports, which is confirmed by the language in the press release above.

In other words, the UK punted. Initially there were suggestions this law would try to deal with the property right issues related to the Outer Space Treaty. I suspect that as they reviewed those issues, the government realized they couldn’t do much about them, without changing the treaty itself, and decided to focus on what they could change. This law is aimed at bringing spaceport business to the United Kingdom, and in that I hope it works.

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UK health system considers banning surgery for smokers and the obese

Coming to a single-payer plan near you! Great Britain’s nationalized health system has proposed banning surgeries for anyone who smokes or is overweight.

In recent years, a number of areas have introduced delays for such patients – with some told operations will be put back for months, during which time they are expected to try to lose weight or stop smoking.

But the new rules, drawn up by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Hertfordshire, say that obese patients “will not get non-urgent surgery until they reduce their weight” at all, unless the circumstances are exceptional. The criteria also mean smokers will only be referred for operations if they have stopped smoking for at least eight weeks, with such patients breathalysed before referral.

East and North Hertfordshire CCG and Herts Valleys said the plans aimed to encourage people “to take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, wherever possible, freeing up limited NHS resources for priority treatment”. Both are in financial difficulty, and between them seeking to save £68m during this financial year. [emphasis mine]

This is what happens when you centralize control of an industry into the hands of government. Rather than compete and find ways to better serve their customers while saving money, as the competitive private market does, a centralized top-down government operation rations services so that fewer people can get them.

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UK’s space industry bill introduced in House of Lords

The new colonial movement: The United Kingdom’s proposed space industry bill has now been introduced in the House of Lords, the first step to making it law.

I have not had a chance to read it, but the claim is that this bill will establish a regulatory framework, under the Outer Space Treaty, to attract private commercial space to Great Britain.

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British government to loosen regulations on space

The British government is about to propose new regulations on space to allow the operation of commercial spaceports while establishing a licensing system for the launch companies that will fly from those spaceports.

These new regulations are likely the legislation the government announced it was preparing back in February. I suspect they are, like other recent legislative proposals, trying to fit the square peg of private enterprise into the round hole of the Outer Space Treaty.

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Imans in UK refuse to say prayers for terrorists

It is about time: More than 130 Muslim religious leaders in the United Kingdom are refusing to perform funeral rites for the terrorists who attacked people this past Saturday on London Bridge.

The decision by the Muslim leaders was seen as an “unprecedented” move because the funeral ritual is typically performed on a deceased Muslim no matter the person’s past actions. The group of religious leaders have urged others to join them in declining to pray for the dead killers.

“We, as Muslim imams and religious leaders, condemn the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London in the strongest terms possible,” the Muslim leaders said in a statement. “Coming from a range of backgrounds, and from across the U.K.; feeling the pain the rest of the nation feels, we have come together to express our shock and utter disgust at these cold-blooded murders. We are deeply hurt that a spate of terror attacks have been committed in our country once more by murderers who seek to gain religious legitimacy for their actions. We seek to clarify that their reprehensible actions have neither legitimacy nor our sympathy.”

So, does this mean they had no problems with performing rites for the terrorists of earlier attacks, such as at Westminster earlier this year and the July 7 attacks several years ago? Meh.

I must say that though this is the right response on their part, I am not very impressed. For more that two decades the Islamic community in the west has sat on its hands, making believe they have nothing to do with Islamic terrorism, or quietly supporting it by non-action. They are suddenly realizing now that people are losing patience with them, and that their safe havens in the west are now increasingly threatened. Most politicians might still be mouthing platitudes of “We have to all get along,” but the public is increasingly angry and demanding action, even if it means kicking every Islamic practitioner back to the Middle East.

Thus, though I do not like attacking people with such broad strokes, I can understand why it is happening. And the Muslim community has no one to blame but themselves.

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UK commits £10 million to space development

The competition heats up: The United Kingdom’s space agency yesterday announced that it is making available £10 million in grants for projects that develop and improve the country’s launch capabilities.

Organisations expected to bid for a share of the funding are likely to be joint enterprises of launch vehicle operators and potential launch sites. The funding must be used to develop spaceflight capabilities, such as building spaceport infrastructure or adapting launch vehicle technology for use in the UK. The aim is to establish a commercial spaceflight market to capture a share of the emerging global market from 2020.

The government also announced today that it is preparing legislation to develop a safe and competitive regulatory environment for spaceflight. This work goes hand-in-hand with government’s work internationally to achieve the technical, trade and policy agreements necessary for UK based launch services and developing interest from launch customers and operators from around the world.

It is interesting to me that the UK’s effort to prepare a better regulatory environment for private space is happening parallel to the similar recently-announced regulartory efforts in Luxembourg, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates, just to name a few. It seems that the nations that wish to compete in the new colonial movement in space are all discovering that the Outer Space Treaty is a problem, and they are all searching for ways to legally bypass it, without abandoning it.

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ESA contract for hypersonic engine research

The competition heats up: The European Space Agency has signed a research contract for 10 million euros with Reaction Engines to build a ground-based prototype of its hypersonic rocket engine.

While ground testing is always necessary, I am not sure what they gain by building a solely ground-based prototype. Hypersonic engines use the oxygen in the atmosphere, much like jet engines. Their operation however is dependent on altitude as well as the speed in which they are traveling, neither of which is easily tested on the ground.

This project is also one part of the United Kingdom’s new space agency program.

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Elite journalist considers murder the appropriate response to Brexit vote

Fascist: A British journalist asked her readers today to consider whether they’d kill the leader of the UK’s movement to leave the European Union.

A journalist working for the Telegraph has asked her Twitter followers to consider if they would kill UKIP leader Nigel Farage, comparing him to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. “You know that time travel conundrum: would you kill baby Hitler? Same but Nigel Farage”, wrote Catherine Gee, who claims to have been “writing about culture for the Telegraph since 2007”, and has also written for the Guardian, Western Mail and Clash.

She has deleted the tweet, but only I think because it embarrassed her, not because she realized how barbaric it was. Worse, she is not alone.

Over the course of just a few hours, Breitbart London uncovered hundreds of tweets and Facebook updates dating back as far as 2010, with some as recent as last Thursday afternoon after Member of Parliament Jo Cox was murdered.

The revelations go some way to shattering the narrative that “hateful” or “aggressive” rhetoric emanates from only one side of UK politics. Most of the messages listed below are from younger people, and Breitbart found that most were either Liberal Democrat, Scottish National Party, or Labour Party supporters. Most of them also expressed pro-European Union sentiment and were overwhelmingly supportive of the ‘Remain’ campaign at the European Union referendum.

Basic level searches under the search terms “shoot Nigel Farage”, “stab Nigel Farage” or “kill Nigel Farage” reveal hundreds of messages, some of those in fact with further messages of support for the notions in the replies.

Freedom and democracy cannot stand if it is considered acceptable to call for the murder of your opponents.

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The howl against democracy

Link here. Key quote:

In all the years I’ve been writing about political stuff, I cannot remember a time when anti-democratic sentiment has been as strong as it is right now. No sooner had an awe-inspiring 17.5m people rebelled against the advice of virtually every wing of the establishment and said screw-you to the EU than politicos were calling into question the legitimacy of their democratic cry. Apparently the people were ill-informed, manipulated, in thrall to populist demagoguery, and the thing they want, this unravelling of the EU, is simply too mad and disruptive a course of action to contemplate. So let’s overturn the wishes of this dumb demos.

The author then outlines the numerous calls by EU supporters in the UK to do anything possible to void the will of the people in a legitimate vote. Why would I not be surprised if these same people also align themselves politically with today’s American Democratic Party, which increasingly sees the Bill of Rights and freedom as an obstacle and an evil that must be destroyed.

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The elite speak!

The coming dark age: The journal Science published on Friday a nice collection of tweets from a lot of scientists expressing their contempt and disgust at the vote by the citizens of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.

Two tweets say it all:

Dear Europe – for the record, I didn’t want this to happen. Please don’t judge all Brits by the poisonous rhetoric of the Leave campaign. — Dr Heather Williams (@alrightPET) June 24, 2016

Today is a sad day for science and sanity. #Brexit — Hannah Wakeford (@StellarPlanet) June 24, 2016

In the first the scientist accuses the Leave campaign of expressing “poisonous rhetoric”, while the second (one of many quite similar) declares anyone who disagreed with the Remain campaign to be insane. Does anyone but me see the blind stupidity here?

Not one of these tweeters, all supposedly highly educated scientists, consider for an instant the quite valid and reasonable intellectual arguments of the Leave campaign. Leave is wrong, and don’t you dare think otherwise! Some also suggest that the vote should be ignored, or invalidated, because they don’t like the result. So much for open-mindedness and a respect for democracy.

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Science elites move to block UK exit from EU

A statement today from the UK’s Royal Astronomical Society, reacting to yesterday’s vote to leave the European Union, calls for the government to do whatever it can to nullify that exit.

Professor John Zarnecki, the President of the Royal Astronomical Society, commented: “We must remember that whatever happens, science has no boundaries. It is vital that we do not give the message, particularly to our younger colleagues, in the UK and beyond that our country is not a good place in which to do scientific research, however uncertain the economic and political environment is.

“I have been privileged during my career to have worked in a research environment in Europe which has had few borders for either people or ideas. We must strive to make sure that these rights are not taken away – this would be enormously to the detriment of UK society.”

The statement includes a laundry list of benefits that membership in the EU brings scientists, including lots of funding to pay the salaries of these scientists. The statement also insists that all these benefits must be maintained, despite the will of the electorate.

While many of these benefits (easy travel between nations) are beneficial and a reason to have a European Union, the electorate understood that the benefits have been increasingly outweighed by the heavy regulatory burden imposed by the EU, with no democratic recourse allowed.

Articles in the science journals Science and Nature, here, here, and here, also note the distress and opposition by scientists to yesterday’s vote.

This unwillingness of the elite community to accept the will of the public is part and parcel to the same bubble I found in Washington when I attended the CNAS conference. Unfortunately, I see no evidence of a willingness in the elite community to bend at all to the will of the general public, meaning that we can only expect the conflict between the top and the bottom to intensify in the coming years. The question will be whether our institutions of democracy will be able to withstand that battle, especially when those in power continue to find their power being attacked from below.

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UK votes to leave EU

The revolt continues: The voters of the United Kingdom tonight chose to leave the European Union.

The EU was a great idea, unfortunately spoiled in the past few decades by a crushing regulatory bureaucracy unaccountable to anyone, which is why every single time the question has been put to the voters in recent years the voters have chosen to quit the EU.

The unrest among American voters, fueling the success of outsiders and the defeat of incumbents in recent elections, is based on similar issues and dissatisfactions. I thus expect similar surprises here come November. This essay expresses these circumstances here in the states quite nicely:

This is not about ideology. If people trusted elites and institutions they defend to look out for them, in a non-ideological sense, the breakdown of our systems would have been mitigated or confined. The fact that it is so sweeping is due to a generation of elites who didn’t do their jobs well, or pretended things weren’t their job for too long.

We have breakdown, chaos, and upheaval in our politics today not because the people are “insane”, as Rauch writes, but because they are sane. They know the leadership class which held power for the past generation has not looked out for them. Don’t blame a people for turning on elites who thought they knew better but proved over and over that they didn’t. It is thoroughly rational to want something else instead. Even if that something else turns out not to deliver either, at least you know it’s not the same as what’s failed. [emphasis mine]

Remember, the definition of insanity is doing the same failed thing over and over again, even though it is proven to never work. This what our elites have been doing for the past three decades. The voters, however, are increasingly showing that they are not insane, that they want to try new things. Kudos to them!

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Backgrounder on June 23 UK vote on EU membership

Link here. The videos at the link are especially informative.

Polls have recently shifted strongly in favor of leaving the union, but that is not a certain result. If it happens, however, I will consider that decision by the public to be another example of a growing revolt by the general public against the intellectual elites who presently rule western society, since most of these elites appear to favor keeping the United Kingdom in the European Union.

Posted from Washington, D.C.

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United Kingdom cancels spaceport competition

The competition heats up: The United Kingdom has cancelled its spaceport competition to chose one spaceport and instead has announced it will allow any one of the competing locations to operate if they can want and can meet some licensing requirements.

In other words, instead of the government dictating one location as the nation’s spaceport, it will allow different locations to compete for the space launch business.

The link has few details, though a closer look at subject of the British space effort can be found here.

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New astronaut crew to ISS, including Brit

A Russian Soyuz rocket today successfully launched a new crew to ISS, including Great Britain’s first official astronaut.

Tim Peake is not the first Brit in space, but he is the first paid for by the British government. The first British citizen to fly in space, back in 1991, was Helen Sharman, whose flight was a publicity stunt mostly paid for by the Russians themselves.

The crew is expected to dock with ISS later today.

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British spaceplane concept gets infusion of cash

The competition heats up: Reaction Engines, the British company developing a hybrid air-breathing rocket engine, today received obtained a significant funding boost from a new private partner as well as the British government.

The government has committed $60 million, while BAE has purchased 20% of the company with a commitment of an additional $20 million.

The craft Reaction Engines intends to eventually produce, known as Skylon, depends on the ability to cool an incoming airstream from 1,000 degrees C to minus 150 C almost instantly, at close to 1/100th of a second. That process doubles the technical limits of a jet engine, and would enable the craft to reach extremely fast speeds in Earth’s atmosphere, up to give times the speed of sound, before switching to a rocket engine to reach orbit.

Don’t start buying tickets however. They don’t expect to begin manned test flights for at least a decade

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The UK launches a 3D printed airplane drone

A University of Southampton team, under a project for the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, have built and launched an entirely 3D printed unmanned air vehicle (UAV) from a navy ship.

Produced under the institution’s Project Triangle, the Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft (SULSA) UAV was launched via catapult from the patrol vessel HMS Mersey, and flew over the Wyke Regis training facility near Weymouth in the south of the country to land on Chesil beach. The 5min sortie covered a range of some 500m, with the UAV carrying a small video payload to record the mission so that operators could monitor it during the flight.

SULSA measures 150cm (59in) and weighs 3kg (6.6lb), and is made via 3D printing using laser sintered nylon. The university claims that SULSA is the world’s first UAV made entirely via the technique. It consists of four separately manufactured main parts that are assembled without the need for any additional tools.

The specific achievement here is interesting, but its significance in illustrating the growing use of unmanned drones and 3D printing is more important. Very soon, a large percentage of everything we own will be built with 3D printing technology, lowering the cost while making construction easier. As for drones, they carry both positive and negative possibilities.

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Great Britain space agency calls for an increased space effort

The competition heats up: The United Kingdom’s space agency has issued its proposed future strategy, focusing on a renewed involvement with ISS and the European Space Agency.

Following a public consultation and lengthy discussions across government, the new strategy, published today, concludes that continued involvement in the ISS and other programs via ESA membership is the best way to involve U.K. scientists and industry in human spaceflight. The document says the government will consider bilateral projects with other space agencies but fears always being the junior partner since the United Kingdom has no launchers or space stations. It does not think that the commercial launch industry is sufficiently mature for the United Kingdom to buy services commercially. The report also states: “The Agency will also consider its role in human exploration missions beyond Earth orbit, especially where this complements science and technology goals for robotic exploration.”

I wonder if the newly elected conservative British government agrees with this strategy. It appears to me that it was researched and written prior to the election.

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Tory victory in UK even better than predicted just yesterday

The final tallies of the election in Great Britain have given the conservatives an outright majority.

They don’t have to form a coalition with anyone to form a government. Moreover, this is after months of listening to pollsters and pundits insisting they would at best achieve a tie with the left, and most likely get kicked out of office.

Read it all. The results strongly suggest that, except for the separatist movement in Scotland, conservatives rule Britannia.

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Kickstarter campaign to fund lunar probe

The competition heats up: A private consortium of scientists and entrepreneurs is planning to fund its unmanned lunar lander with a Kickstarter campaign followed by private sales..

The mission is raising initial development funding through Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform. Following the initial public phase the remaining funding requirements will be met through sales of ‘digital memory boxes’ in which donors can have their biographies recorded and taken to the Moon. These will also include a strand of hair so that their DNA can exist in space. The team has claimed that around one per cent of the global population who can afford a memory box will buy one. Also included in the time capsule will be record of life on Earth. The archive will include a record of human history and civilisation to date alongside a species database showing the biodiversity of animals and plants.

This is essentially a UK project, backed by the government but with little funding. They hope to launch in 2024, with two missions planned, the first to drill into the lunar soil and the second to bring back samples.

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Great Britain’s proposed suborbital spaceport locations

The competition heats up: More information was released today describing Great Britain’s suggested spaceport locations.

These spaceports are specifically aimed at the suborbital space tourism market, for American companies like Virgin Galactic or XCOR, or for the developing British company Skylon.

It is interesting that 6 of 8 are located in Scotland, which might very well not be part of the United Kingdom after a vote on separation this fall.

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