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Research Professional ‘Research Professional Bee se roc ovccs tetera eet aan eed eee Reet Cristina Galiardo Email alerts Log Out HE News Funding Awards Our Institution Help © Articles Opportunities Search oo 29 Now 16, 10:00, By Cristina Gallardo 5 Felt Aree SSchiaparell fale pute Mars rover mission at rik Bumpy road to Mers The ext chapter Money spinner Alone in space goo ver the past 40 years, the European Union has become central ‘10 UK space research policy, But onthe eve of a esting of Europe's space ministers, Cristina Gallardo finds delegates contemplating the prospect of ie outside planet Brexit (Bicommentontisanice ‘Ts woot gamering of miner ot tne European Space Agency counties, held on 1 snd 2 December the at take place unser Ie goony shadow of Brext Although Bex is nt on the oficial agenda othe Luce meeting, itil bo the ako the fingos and the mincs of everyone tesding “The agency, establisnecin 1875, predates the creation ofthe EU in 1092, but at preset only to ofits 22 full members are not EU countas. Almost ahi of ts budget comes fem the European Commission, an the Commission's heavy involved in severe ESA, programmes. Is ministre moot every tree year o 29700 0° programas tobe taken forward are, crucial, on each county's ‘inancal contortion Aa in Octatber, he Commision an ESA ‘Sgned a ont statement fr yet Coser cooperate, “The offi UK in is snes as usual Far example, lee Bunn, ‘ctr of poe atthe UK Saco Agoncy. says hat sor ‘9peraton wi ot sminish past Brox Bran pact Infuerce the agency's agenda “I would expect our cooperation wth ESA to renin vary strong ‘Ther sno doubt that (tte minister meting] we wil afm our strong crmmaimant wit ESA, but hat hacrit boon in question Incoughout bes whole Bren debate, she says. Butcher delegates are nt convind, "ik would be fooish to say that UK participation in ESA wi rot be aleced by Bre says David Southwood, member o the sterng board ofthe UK Space Agency. "ESA isthe big European agency hat has he sls to procure spacocraft are tho EU fs iereaeigl using tas its space procurement agency rather tian bang a separate one. That at Eannot be ignated inthe tw. Southwood, space stent at Imperal Cotege London, fs & ‘member ofthe UK delegation atening the ministerial conference, Ho explans that ho UK governmant must cuss what elation wil have wih two ESA programmes nits Bex regotions. These are: ‘the Galeo constellation of navigation sales, whichis Europes ‘ual to te US-based GPS systam: andthe European Earth (Observation Programme, Coperscs, Bath are considered EU infest, and Southwood fears that once ouside tho bic, UK inet wl ot bo able o bone fom {em as much as was expected berore te 23 June referendum, Briai's eperise in space cybersecurity eared ta marlin he development of Galea, n whch the UK invested €05.7rallon (eatm), “Cateo was bull by ESA andthe European industry, but tis owned ‘and operated bythe Commission. wouldn't be our property whan ‘we eave. The UK government wil have to addtess that issue 25 We negotiate Brent," Southwood says. ‘Othe leading UK researchers ae also world that Brext could leave them out the ok, “We need greater cary, says Anu Ona, one of he directors ofthe National Space Cente, based atthe Univers of Leicester. What is ‘going tobe UKs eligibility to bid for upstream related Cali work as ‘wollas downstream use ofthese saeltes’ enhanced services? Norway has had to sign a speca deal as a non-EU member tobe able to partite.” Possible risks to Mars rover But Brext is note ony reason wy tis year's meeting iso special Importance forthe UK. “Tha UK i pivotal inthe second mission ofthe ExoMars programme, ‘which wl puta Brish-made rove onthe surface of he re plane by £2020. But this projects in Jeoparsy ater te crash in Octder of part ‘of ExoMars fret mission. This was the ib ed Sehiaparel ardor, ‘which last week was found to have jetisoned is parachute and fred “ts Lancing rocks too oary while ying to tand on Mars, a mistako| ‘hated tots destruction. ‘Some now want the entre rover programme cancoled, as itis eating ‘nto ESAs budgot. ESA neods to ind an extra 400m ane the ‘agency’ drectr-generalJohann-Dietich Werner has sid that (€200m should come fem member states, wih the remaining €100m ‘ten fom elsewhere in ESAS bucget. ExoMars rot part of ESAS ‘mandatory programme, go voluntary contibuions from national ‘governments are needed, Bunn says that she is confident of geting @ financial commitment ‘age enough to save te mission. "We do recognise thatthe programme oid have some cificuites eater in te year and we old ‘ake stops to make sure hal wo addressad those. We have spent tho last few months not ony looking atthe funding scenario but also at ‘he delvorabily and to problamates, and we baove that we are ‘now in @ much stenger positon and can have confidence inthe ‘mission gong forward Howover, sho acknowledges that cancelation of ExoMars isa Dossiiy If the mission were to be cancelled it would be a blow for ‘be UK, since the rovers being ballin the UK by Abus Defence ‘anc Space and comes instruments developed by ish universes, Including the Open University and Aberystwyth University, "ts nt possible to de-saope enenge| he mission, e0 plan B woul be to ‘ancl and concenvate on te next European cooperation,” Bunn sy, "Tough negotiations ahead ‘What its clear is that the nagcitions for mest programmes wil ‘require some bargaing, Going io the mister, Southwood says “is rt ike walking into the superman! ana taking something for 2 shat oaty 1 2 tough negotiation betwoon morber states, ea0h ‘of which wants to ensure substantial conibutons tothe programmes of intrest or thar respective industes and asearchers ‘Overall, ESA plane o ak ts mombor governmonts fora mult-yoar ‘commitment of around E11 bilien forthe next tree year, The UKs Sill iscussing how much it would commit, but since payments are ‘nade in euros. Brians contbaon is ely to bo aflectod by th fall inthe value of th pound. ‘The UK is expected to make contibutons acoss aos! the whole broadth of ESAs actives, including the acionce programme, the ‘space exploration missions and te mare commercially orate ‘clvitles, uch es a naw €tbn elecommuncations programme i Darnership with musty, anc the proposed next generation of Earth ‘observation misions [Abig question maré wl be the size ofthe UKs contribution o ESA's ‘human spacefigh! programme folowing the success of Tim Peake's ‘mgsion fo the intetional Space Staton. ‘According o Bunn, the UK fs not ling to invest, however, the European aunctes programme, and holds dubs about a proposal or an asteroid interception mission, Instoad, Bian woul ks t 500 a substantal conrbuton towards ExoMars and the programmes that ae being delivered rom the European Conte fr Space Applcatons ana Telecammunicetens, ESAS faciy al the Harwell campus near Oxford. National governments wil alea have to decide whether the budge for ESA scence prograrme i increased, ater years of at cash. However, tis programm is adiionally considered tobe n0n- ‘contontcus sve, and ESA members largely agree onthe need to Patina init ‘An ‘overburdened URSA ‘Soutrwood says that he ove of preparation ofthe UK delegation to the ESA minstaral conferences has increased inthe las cade, thanks tthe existence ofthe UK. However, Brothas shaken up the UK goverment prone fr th space sector which now seem more commercaly ented than before, Preparing o bull ‘spacepors in he UK for example Is now the top ofthe goverent’s ‘space pro Hs “The modern transport il which would ich legilton neaded for the setup of epaceports, has boon brought fora 2 monte Ande ‘ow expected tobe introduced in parkament early next yer. This wil ‘2deto the burdens ofan already stetznod UKSA, something tht Bunn does not entirety deny “The reterendum vote has triggered, quite righty, huge pieces of ‘evience and analysis of or space programmes, an the spacepart ie realy excing prospect for us,” sho save, Ithas corny boon a ‘ery busy prod, ut 0 Tar We have expanded wel 9 meat hese tunlerosoon pressures. Regardless of te politica! urbulences looming over the UK and the EU, Southwood says member states gathering in Lucere wl set ‘aside any Brox quate “ESA must be socn 9s an umole to help us deal with any storm that Broxtmay bring us” © comments ‘Add a comment You ate sec in as Cnatina Galardo, Research Professional “Type your message here Contact us Advertise with us Tens and Candin Privacy Paley Copyraht (©2018, ResearcRecearch Ltd, Al Rts Reserved