Monday, April 04, 2005

EU Space Program Forges Ahead


This year has seen a remarkable first for Europe - the successful landing of the Huygens space probe on Saturn's moon, Titan.

In addition, Europe's Mars Express has spotted signs of recent volcanic activity on Mars, Smart 1 has begun its search for water-ice on the Moon, and the Rosetta probe is en route to become the first spacecraft to orbit and then land on a comet.

Europe's space scientists are catching up fast with their Russian and US counterparts

But despite these successes, one in five workers in Europe's space industry have lost their jobs in recent years because of a slump in demand for satellites from the telecoms sector.

Yet help could now be at hand thanks to a new player in the space business - the European Union.

Bear with me, please. The previous article here gives a thumbnail, child's eye view of NASA and why it was created after Sputnik. Europe, too, tried the capitalist business model for space programs and it had the same short comings: ups and downs during which you lose talent and know how and institutional memory and lose focus, especially. Now, Europe has decided to go for the long range vision, the reach for the stars rather than reach for the wallet and they are going from triumph to triumph.

America is the world girdling empire. Yet we are dropping the ball when it comes to real world girdling imperial power: the domination of space and time.

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