Lord Chrusher wrote:A few disorganised points:
I think you underestimate how complicated it is to design and build a useful satellite.
My point was more about the difficulty of getting a working launch vehicle and being able to operate it rather than the engineering challenges, given as there are quite a few more countries that produce satellites than those who launch them.
I concede the point about the actual engineering difficulties of satellite construction though. I'm not suggesting in any way the the engineering challenges are easier or harder, I was making an observational point.
One stumbling block to international collaboration in space flight is the same technology that can launch a satellite can be used to deliver a nuclear weapon anywhere on Earth. In addition satellite are now vital to military communications and intelligence gathering.
Indeed. Black Arrow was a by-product of the Blue Streak programme, a British launch vehicle for thermonuclear warheads. In the end the government just bought Polaris from the states.
Surely though having the UN governing space exploration would help to reduce the suspicion of rocket development being used to advance nuclear warhead delivery capabilities of any one nation state? or am I just being too much of an idealist?
Despite sharing the same head of state Australia and Britain are completely separate countries.
I didn't say they weren't, that was a 'Devil's Prosecution' to Brad's 'Devil's Advocate' about whether that made Black Arrow an Australian launch capability instead of a British one. The argument there was at what point do you distinguish between geography, nation, state and identity? I wasn't trying to reclaim sovereignty of Australia for Britain.
The reason why the US launches from Florida and the European Space Agency launches from French Guiana is that since the Earth spins it takes less fuel to reach orbit the closer you are to the equator.
There is also that point but for the sake of brevity I decided that wasn't worth extending my already rather long post to include. That factor doesn't prohibit space launches from being made elsewhere, it just makes it more challenging (and it's not the only deciding factor either or else surely US launches would be made from Hawaii, surely?).
24 kilometres is not that high. It is only a couple kilometres higher than the cruising altitude of the U-2 spy plane and significantly lower than the 37 km reached by a modified MiG 25. The highest manned balloon reached 34 km and the highest parachute jump was done from 31 km also from a balloon. The record for an unmanned balloon is 53 km. The two kids used a normal weather balloon which normally reach the same height as the kid's ballon or higher.
Well, I consider 24km to be pretty high. I certainly wouldn't want to be without a pressure suit or parachute from that height. It's not technically space, but as space has no distinct boundary line (unless you want to argue about the 100km definition, in which case is 100,000.01m in altitude more space-like than 99,999.99m?) and given that we're talking about the achievement of two kids of school age, this is still a pretty cool thing.
It's certainly high enough to make international news, even if it's not that impressive to some folks.