, 79 tweets, 51 min read
My Authors
Read all threads
No they won't, yes they will. The UK was heading for a car crash at the @esa ministerial, with doubts in the last few days that it would turn up with the expected uplift in its subscription. Normal service looks to have been resumed. #Space19Plus bbc.com/news/science-e…
Attention now turns to where the cash from Britain and the other big member states goes. A major battleground will be the €1.4bn #Copernicus package. How hard will the UK commit? EO really important to Germany here; it'll be going in very hard, as you would expect. #Space19Plus
#Copernicus at #Space19plus is a one-card trick with the card placed face-upwards. It's really difficult to get it wrong. A large R&D commitment now will unlock chunky contracts down the road - but only if you're *in* Copernicus. How big a problem is that for the UK? #Brexit
If you've got access to the @FT then read this from @peggyhollinger. ft.com/content/64926e… We've both been trying to make sense of the past few days, which have been very, very strange, to say the least. #Space19Plus
They are flooding off the buses from downtown Seville hotels. Germany asking its partners here to think about committing to the International Space Station through 2028, maybe even 2030. Lots to consider: level of utilisation and of course... #Space19Plus
...CASH! Germany will play soft on other countries’ pet projects to get bigger commitments to the ISS programme, eg UK kinda needs German support for the #Lagrange space weather mission. You scratch my back... #Space19Plus
Should mention Spain. On home turf. It’s expecting its best ever ministerial, and who’s Spain minister at #Space19Plus ? None other than Pedro Duque, former @esa astronaut, now an MP. #STS95 (pictured centre)...
Duque: “In Spain, we’re all very proud to have organised this meeting and being the one who brokered all the agreements in the last three years” #Space19Plus
As ever, launchers are causing the usual indigestion here. France, Germany, Italy and others had a separate 1.5-hour meeting over lunch yesterday to try to thrash out last-minute grumbles with the €2.6bn programme
And they're off! Shortly going into closed session. #Space19Plus
A bit of insight before the video stream is switched off with regard to the #Lagrange space weather mission. €85m required at #Space19Plus as the threshold to push this project forward. Instrument development is the priority. Launch foreseen in 2026. A UK priority.
If you're not familiar with #Lagrange, you can read more in the link. It can't be overstated just how important it is to get more coronagraphs up there. bbc.com/news/science-e… #Space19Plus
An update from outside #Space19plus to do with @ESA_ExoMars. As you know, there have been problems with the parachutes that will put the #RosalindFranklin rover on the surface of Mars in 2021. Rips on deployment. Ground tests of the modified chute design have gone well...
...but... the system now moves to a high-altitude testing phase (deployment from a balloon), starting in early January. This test is a real go, no-go moment for @ESA_ExoMars. If it fails, the mission will be bumped. #Space19plus ...
...and you really don't want to know how much it will cost to store #RosalindFranklin for two years, the next launch window. It's probably the cleanest spacecraft ever made and its instrument drawer is pressurised. It'd be a mare €€€€€€€ #Space19plus
We're still in opening declarations and the UK (Graham Turnock) has just made its statement. Its mentioned priorities... (1) Science budget which gets a 10% rise; he talked about the @LISACommunity grav waves mission and @CometIntercept... #Space19plus
(2) Earth observation for climate (but does that mean #Copernicus?); (3) Mars sample return (that's the "fetch" rover) (4) Lunar comms on the ESPRIT module on #Gateway; #Space19plus
(5) "Very excited about the #Lagrange space weather mission and we would welcome support from other member states here today"; (6) Active space debris removal (Note: @ProfHughLewis) #Space19plus
@ProfHughLewis German minister Thomas Tzortzakakis gives a glimpse behind the scenes. Seems the launcher issues (financial support, efficiency improvements from industry, and further development programmes) have largely been put to bed. He wants a microlauncher market in Europe. #Space19plus
Tzortzakakis: Keen to see @esa boss Jan Woerner continue in his role until at least the summer of 2021. And, as Germany always, does - he mentions the need for other nations to support the ISS (Germany pays 40% of Europe's costs). The "testbed" for going to the Moon #Space19plus
Tzortzakakis: Interesting discussion on space safety. Germany very interested on Hera asteroid mission. Not so sure @esa can do this and #Lagrange space weather mission. UK delegation knows Germany has gone soft on Lagrange. Is there a negotiation to be done? #Space19plus
@esa What might be the traditional mid-meeting stumbling block, the one issue they have to solve in the bars in the evening so that everyone goes home happy the next day. Here's a possibility: Space Rider, the mini reusable shuttle-like vehicle. Italy is super-keen #Space19plus ...
Space Rider needs about €180m at this meeting. Like all programmes it needs to cross a threshold to proceed. Could Italy dig its heels in on other projects until it gets its way on the mini shuttle? Just throwing that one out there. #Space19plus
@ProfHughLewis Apologies getting my ministers mixed up, I mean Jarzombek. More haste, less speed.
Lunchtime. Team photo. #Space19Plus
So the danger at these meetings is that you speak to people with different versions of the same spreadsheet. Who has the most up to date numbers. So all this, you take with a bucket of salt, not least because this is day one and there's a lot of negs still to go... #Space19plus
...but, as expected, France and Germany have gone is super-hard on #Copernicus at over 20% each. They're currently actually tied. The UK? I'm uncertain at the moment; one number I've seen is much higher than the other one. #Space19plus
Space Rider may not be the sticking point that I thought. I'm told its contributions are there or thereabouts, which means that by tomorrow it will get over the line. Italy, as billed, has put in the vast amount of the needed cash. #Space19plus
Caught a very brief word with EU space commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska as she left #Space19plus for other business. I asked her how important it was that the UK stayed with #Copernicus after leaving the EU, assuming that does indeed happen.
Bieńkowska: "We, Europe, are the leaders in fighting climate change; and Copernicus will be the most important tool to do this. We need all of the European countries onboard, and that means we need the United Kingdom as a partner." #Space19plus
If the UK leaves the EU, it will need to "associate" to that side of the programme as a "third country". I haven't heard anyone say that shouldn't happen, but it's all part of the future relationship negotiation. Remember Copernicus is 30% Esa; and 70% EU... #Space19Plus
...and to maximise the value of your investment here at #Space19Plus, you really need to be in the EU side of things as well. Esa funds the R&D models of the Sentinel satellites but the EU buys the follow-on models, launches them, pays for their operation and their services...
....and the countries that build the prototypes are best placed to win the EU contracts (best price/value) when they come up. "But you've got to be in it to win it". Esa's tender documents say you can't bid for follow-ons if you're not in the EU side. #Space19Plus
So, what does that say about the UK's #Copernicus subscription here at #Space19plus? Well, it might reflect the current state of politics back home; it could reflect uncertainty/optimism about the likelihood of achieving "associate" EU status down the road. We'll see.
...but as I've said before, #Copernicus at #Space19Plus is a one-card trick with the card placed face upwards. Easy. You're virtually guaranteed to get back far more than you put in terms of contract value. And that's why, as it stands, 🇫🇷&🇩🇪 have thrown money at it.
It's getting late, but as delegates leave #Space19Plus, here are some final titbits. The requested 10% uplift to @esa's science budget is in a good place this evening. Very little discussion, certainly no objection. Barring dramas overnight, it should happen.
I'm hearing the #Copernicus programme is currently oversubscribed. It's a €1.4bn request and member states have bid quite a bit more this. That's good news because if the six proposed new Sentinels are to be developed in a timely fashion, the extra will help #Space19plus
But, I can't stress enough, it ain't over until it's over. Delegations continue to network overnight. There are blockages still in the system. eg over ISS and Gateway, I'm told. When we come back in the morning, these could be fixed while other problems have arisen. #Space19plus
Back in the morning just after 0900 local Seville for the final hours of #Space19plus
What precisely will @esa be able to do with a 10% increase in its budget? Prof Günther Hassinger, Esa's director of science, shares the delights with me. (We even discuss crazy ideas about how to land on Triton, moon of Neptune) #Space19plus bbc.com/news/av/scienc…
@esa Some random thoughts/observations at the end of day one at #Space19plus. It's late, I know. Be kind to me. #unplug
@esa Coffee infusion under way. Attempts are being made I hear to try to get Germany and France to redistribute some of their present #Copernicus oversubscription. It would help other programmes. Will that work? #Space19plus
@esa Encouraging on the #Lagrange and #Hera fronts, if you're interested in space weather and asteroid missions. Speculation from outside the conference room is both should get across the line, although Lagrange will be about instrument development. #Space19plus
@esa The discussions at #Space19plus must be entering their final phase. I was told the spreadsheet that member states use to make their commitments was due to close at 1130, Seville time. The press pack is kept outside of the meeting, if you're wondering.
@esa What we want to know is where the exploration programme is. What has become of proposals covering the iHAB and ESPRIT modules for Gateway, for example? #Space19plus
@esa Subscription for the iHAB module for the Lunar Gateway in a good place, we hear. #Space19plus
@esa OK. Meeting is breaking up. The BIG, BIG winner is #Copernicus. It is heavily oversubscribed. Germany came in after breakfast to put down yet more money. A whopping €518m. Half a billion!! #Space19plus (UK €170m).
@esa Hera asteroid mission. It's happening. Germany made sure. #Space19plus
@esa Germany also putting money into microlaunchers to seed development. Three start-ups in Germany but Brit-connected @orbexspace also have an office there. #Space19plus
@esa @orbexspace The science budget uplift (part of the mandatory programme) is confirmed. 10%. That's the biggest increase in 25 years. It means Athena X-ray telescope and Lisa grav waves mission can be aligned for launch in the early 2030s. More faster, smaller missions too. #Space19plus
@esa @orbexspace On Exploration, big smiles from that directorate. Esa will be participating in Lunar Gateway with iHAB and ESPRIT modules. The robotic lunar lander gets the nod also. #SPace19Plus
@esa @orbexspace Exploration also includes Mars Sample Return. The money is there to do that. Italy will lead with France and the UK in support. UK wants to do a fetch rover to pick up samples cached by US 2020 rover. Italy/France want to do the orbiter to return samples to Earth. #Space19plus
@esa @orbexspace Mars Sample Return is, of course, a Nasa/Esa project.
@esa @orbexspace Oh, yes. Space Rider, the reusable mini robotic shuttle which would launch on the Vega rocket to take experimental payloads into orbit (A bit like US X37B). Oversubscribed. But... the vast majority of the cash coming from Italy. #Space19plus
@esa @orbexspace The numbers on #Copernicus: De €518m; Fr €350m; I €370m; UK €170m; Spain €170m. That's amazing on a request that was originally valued at €1.4bn. What does it mean... ? #Space19plus
@esa @orbexspace ...it means Esa can now confidently proceed with the early phase development of the six Sentinel satellite systems that would expand the programme (There are six existing systems today, although not all are launched). #Space19plus
@esa @orbexspace All of the proposed Sentinels are treated equally but there is one that is urgent. That's CO2M, a mini constellation to monitor CO2. It needs to be up mid next decade, in time to check the declarations made on emissions by nations under the Paris Agreement. #Space19plus
@esa @orbexspace I would love to bring you updates from the press conference following #Space19plus but the internet connection in the conference room is pants. We can send probes to the edge of the Solar System, but not install adequate connectivity. Apologies.
@esa @orbexspace .@jeff_foust has a better connection than me. Follow Jeff!! #Space19plus
@esa @orbexspace @jeff_foust Switched to my phone. What have I missed. The key headline is a total budget agreed of €14.4bn over five years. The request was for €14.3bn. So it's an oversubscription. That's success. €12.5bn over three years. #Space19plus
@esa @orbexspace @jeff_foust All delegations are in the room with us journalists. One delegation has left. That would be the UK . 🤣 That said, it's a good outcome for the Brits. The annual sub will rise from €355m a year to €440m, slightly above 15% increase over five years. #Space19plus
@esa @orbexspace @jeff_foust Going back to #Copernicus. The final subscribed amount was €1.87bn (original request €1.4bn). The extra will be used to pay for more performant systems. #CO2M will carry additional instruments to tease anthropogenic from natural emissions #Space19plus
@esa @orbexspace @jeff_foust DG Jan Woerner confirming that Lagrange space weather mission has been downscaled to instrument activity. It will not be full speed ahead for the moment. Can't state how important it is that we get more coronagraphs up there very soon. #Space19plus
@esa @orbexspace @jeff_foust Confirmed that 🇫🇷 astro Thomas Pesquet will fly to the ISS again. #Space19plus
@esa @orbexspace @jeff_foust I'm getting one of those headaches behind my right eye. Tired and dehydrated, I think. #Space19plus
@esa @orbexspace @jeff_foust And Woerner confirming that he wants to see all the astros from the class of 2009 (#Shenanigans) get at least two flights. #Space19plus
@esa @orbexspace @jeff_foust That's a wrap on the press conference.
And because my net connection died at the crucial moment... #Space19plus
And the other key chart #Space19plus
The UK's BEIS department has pushed out a notice on the meeting gov.uk/government/new… The delegation hadn't left the building, and came to tell me so. Purdah limits what civil servants can say at this time. #Space19plus
Just before I sign off for a while to write for BBC Online and do some radio, the British contribution to the ARTES programme (this is making satellite telecoms globally competitive) was €302m - more than any other member state. #Space19plus
The smaller Earth observation missions were all 100% subscribed - that's Truths (a British-led mission), the Arctic radiometer for atmosphere/weather; and Altius, an aeronomy mision led by Belgium. Oh, and the next Proba mission, too. #Space19plus
Interview with @esa DG. He's a happy man, with good reason. Two years' prep delivered virtually everything he wanted. #Space19plus bbc.co.uk/news/av/scienc…
But the guy walking on air is @AschbacherJosef. The #Copernicus subscription is "stunning". In this interview we discuss also how the UK's future "third country" association to the EU part of the programme could deliver critical funding. bbc.co.uk/news/av/scienc… #Space19plus
@AschbacherJosef OK, the brain is about to shut down, so some final thoughts. #Copernicus is undoubtedly the star of #Space19plus but it needs to be stressed that the money here is only half the job if six new Sentinel systems are going to come into service. bbc.co.uk/news/science-e…
The CO2 mapping mission is a given, but what of the other five. How many can be developed and how soon? The EU pays 70% of the Copernicus budget. The MFF is not yet fixed, but could deliver about €6bn over seven years. That's a tidy sum to add to the #Space19plus money... but...
...it probably still leaves a €1-2bn gap. So, here's the thing - one way you fill that gap is by getting the UK to associate back into Copernicus after it's left the EU. A GNI contribution over seven years would be about €1bn. Problem very nearly solved. #Space19plus
I'm turning off the computer now. Thanks to everyone who enjoyed this #Space19plus commentary and for your patience. It's bloody hard to report from a closed meeting. Lots of furtive conversations in corridors and smoking/vaping areas. Gracias. Adiós 🇪🇸🚀
Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh.

Enjoying this thread?

Keep Current with Jonathan Amos

Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!