Rockets, satellites and tours of the VAB

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It’s been a big weekend for the European Space Agency. After years of planning, building and logistics a Soyuz rocket finally lifted off from ESA’s spaceport in French Guiana.

This is the beginning of something big. It’s also the realisation of a dream ESA has had for a long time. And turning the colonial piece of land first but together by the French on their own into the European equivalent of Florida’s Space Coast.

It means that Europe can now launch the worlds more reliable rocket (as long as we buy them off the Russians) and we can begin to build our competitor to America’s GPS system.

Galileo, I case you haven’t heard, is meant to create a global positioning system more accurate than the current GPS system and could lead to technologies such as ‘cars driving themselves’ to become a reality.

It also means that if the US Army ever decides to turn their system off for whatever reason we might all still be able to find our way to our Nan’s house without bringing out the A to Z.

Unfortunately while it’s taken years to get a couple of satellites up into space it’s going to take even longer to complete the set and get to the point where devices are available to buy that can receive their signals. And until that happens the whole scheme is a little pointless.

Good on ESA for having the vision to expand our spaceport, but until I see some humans riding those Soyuz rockets it’s all a little boring.

P.S. nice little add on. This tweet dropped down this evening…

I went around the VAB earlier this year and that tweet means the tourists to KSC next month are going to get an amazing treat!

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