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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  September 21, 2018 4:30am-5:01am BST

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the vessel overturned close to the shore between two islands. it's reported to have been overloaded, with more than 400 passengers on board. christine blasey ford, the professor who's accused supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, says she's willing to testify next week. but it won't be on monday as republicans have demanded, and only if certain conditions are met. britain's proposals for the terms under which it leaves the european union have been dismissed as unworkable. the eu council president, donald tusk, says the plans could undermine the single market. but prime minister theresa may insists her plan is the only option on the table. just gone half past four in the morning. now on bbc news it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk.
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i'm stephen sackur. britain's exit from the european union has generated intense scrutiny of borders, tariffs and trade. but the shock waves will spread much further. a complex web of scientific collaboration and partnership is in jeopardy — most obviously in the field of space and satellite technology. the uk stands to be frozen out of the galileo project which will deliver a european rival to the american gps system. my guest today is graham turnock, chief executive of the uk space agency. will post—brexit britain be left behind in the race to reach new scientific frontiers? graham turnock, welcome to hardtalk. a pleasure to be here. thank you, stephen. you are the boss of the uk space agency. your institution is at the cutting edge of science and technology in the uk. it is significantly interwoven with collaboration, partnerships, right across the european union.
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how damaging is brexit going to be for you? well, i think the first thing to say is that the main basis for partnering in the european union, with europe, generally is actually the european space agency, not really the european union or the commissions so we put the majority of our funding through the european space agency, that is independent of the european union, and we are not going anywhere in terms of the european space agency. we in fact increased our contributions to the european space agency in 2016, after the eu exit referendum. all of that is true but there is one project that, in many ways, dwarfs all others, which is run by the european union, not by the european space agency, and that is galileo. now, galileo, for those who are not familiar, it's the european effort to produce a satellite navigation system, as to rival to america's gps. britain has played a key role in it. we now stand to be frozen out from it. yes, that is very true. we had played a big role in it.
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we have supplied about 20% of the kit and capability going into the project and, as you say, at the moment, the negotiations are not showing sufficient flexibility on the side of the european commission to enable us to continue to participate. well, as far as the commission is concerned, it is quite simple, if we're leaving the european union — and at the moment it's not even clear there's going to be a deal to get us out of the european union — we can no longer be active participants in the galileo project and obviously that has severe implications for many business, technology businesses in the uk which have made a lot of money out of galileo. absolutely and we think it is a pity that the european commission has taken the position that it is, because we see a win—win, we see continuing to partner in galileo as an opportunity both for the commission and for ourselves. but if that cannot be achieved, then we have looked at alternatives, we are exploring the possibility of a uk system. how much do you believe is being
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spent and will be spent on galileo from beginning to end to produce a system which is a credible rival to america's gps? how much does the overall thing cost? it is going to cost about £10 billion. i have a figure from open europe who've done a study on it — they say around 20 billion euros so significantly more than you're saying but, even at yourfigure, it is a vast financial commitment which has involved obviously all the eu member states. obviously, there is no way that the united kingdom on its own can come up with that sort of investment to produce a uk—based rival to galileo. well, i think that 20 billion figure probably stretches a bit further into the future than the figure i've given you, which is the figure to get to the initial operating system. they're saying all the way through to, i think, 2025... so that's probably the difference. the analysis that we've done so far suggests about £400 million a year for ten years to develop a uk system
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but that is at this stage are very rough estimate. see, i am struggling to understand that, because a quick bit of maths from me and it's not my strongest suit, but that's £4 billion, you're saying. yes, £4 or maybe £5 billion. this project, by the time it's completely up and running would have cost — if we're agreing — around 20 billion euros, the best part of £18—19 billion. how can the british government say that they can deliver the same sort of thing at a quarter of the price. firstly, i think we are talking about two different time periods. so, as you say, that's over a 20—year period. the figures i've given are for a ten—year period to get up and running. so actually it is more like a 2—1 ratio, if you look at it over a 10—year period. so the question still arises, is it realistic that we can build the system for around half the cost of galileo and we think a priori it is not unrealistic. galileo is quite a complicated system. it goes further than is necessary to provide basic global navigation capability. it has been perhaps not
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the best run project. it's made much more complex by the fact there are 28 member states involved... you seem to be dissing a project which, until the brexit vote, the british government was saying was one of the finest examples of european cooperation. it is a good example of european cooperation and we are proud to have been part of it but you cannot underestimate the challenges of operating a project on that scale. given the tone of voice and the tense you've just used, it sounds to me like you have decided that britain is frankly giving up on being a part of galileo‘s future. it's not been settled but you sound as though in your head, as chief of the uk space agency, you are already on to this project of building a british alternative. no, we would like to continue to participate in galileo. at the end of the day, there's a lot of cost in that system. it is pretty much up and running in its basic form and, as far as possible, we would like to stay in it. what i am saying is, if we wanted to build our own system we would benefit from a lot of learning and we'd have a simpler
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project to deliver. because it would not be a project managed by 28 separate member states. we've talked a lot about money so far. the only absolutely substantial figure the government is putting up to investigate the possibilities of develpoing an independent navigation satellite, system, is the £92 million that the business secretary announced. in all of the context and figures we've discussed , £92 million is a spit in the bucket. what is that supposed to be about? all projects have to start with an initial development phase and so this £92 million is really to enable us to get a better fix on how it would cost to develop the project, over what kind of timescale. it is essentially an early design and development phase commitment over the next 18 months to come up with the plan for the project. the question is, is it credible. professor martin barstow, at the lester institute of space and earth observation, says the £92 million allocated is nowhere near enough. i respect martin's views but, at he end of the day,
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we think £92 million is perfectly reasonable to get a basic project definition, to get a handle on the cost of the entire cost. to be clear, the us has a gps system — i don't know how many satellites it has up in the sky, helping the pentagon as well as civil usage... iwould imagine, what, 20, 30 satellites? usually you need about 30 in the kind of altitude that we're talking about. the europeans are putting another 30 up there. i don't know what the russians and chinese have but i know they are both involved in this technology too. are you seriously suggesting the uk is going to put up another 30 satellites of its own? there's no reason why we shouldn't do it. it is perfectly within our capability on the basis of initial analysis that we've made. here's a thing, again, a very credible source, much better informed than me is david clements, an astrophysicist at the imperial college london, says, "radio frequency spectrum is regulated worldwide by the itu and the space available for navigation systems like gps or galileo is very limited. it is used by four systems.
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it is full. this surely makes a fifth independent british system impossible." we do not believe the required spectrum is full up. we've done our own initial analysis. is he talking nonsense, i mean, he's a national physicist at imperial college? i have not had a chance to talk to him about this. i would be delighted to do so. but our analysis says there is sufficient radio frequency spectrum. it would require negotiation, he is right to mention the itu is the responsible body for this. it is obviously something we will be looking at but we do not believe that it is a showstopper for this project at all. tell me where the negotiations sit as far as you understand it. i was very taken with michel barnier, the commission brexit negotiator, just a couple of weeks ago drilling down into galileo and the british future in galileo. he says, "look, we are making an offer, it includes access to the so—called prs signal system," — that is the sort of rather sensitive element within the whole satellite
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navigation system. he said, "we can offer a negotiation with the uk on the basis of still getting the prs signal. as is the case with our other allies — and he mentioned the us and norway — is that going to be enough or are we insistent that we still have access in terms of our businesses to future contracts and all of the other involvement? ie how close to a compromise on galileo are we? we have tried to be very clear about this in the technical note that we published back in may. we needed to have deep industrial participation in order to enable us to verify the security capabilities of the system. your saying our company still has to be key to the building of the system and if we are not given future contracts we are totally walking away. from a defence perspective in particular, it is really essential we can trust the signal. there are a lot of people out there who would like to deny access to gps. to spoof it — ie pretend to be
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the signal when they're not or block it. we really need to be sure it is capable of delivering the kind of secure gps system... you almost talk as though post—brexit you will not be trusting the europeans? when it comes to defence it is not so much about trust but assuring systems and the mod have been very clear they would have to be able to assure the system independently and we can't simply take something on trust. itjust strikes so many people as a ridiculous waste of resources to be considering building our own british alternative to galileo. this is a personal question but did you vote brexit or remain? i'm really not prepared to answer that. it is not appropriate as a public official to answer personal questions of that nature. this is not so much political as about resourcing, it's about where britain needs to focus its efforts going forward. if this is indeed the case that you're saying over the next ten years britain is going to have
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to spend £4—5 billion on building an alternative to the galileo project, which it was very much at the heart of until the brexit vote, to many people, whatever your views on brexit, it would seem somewhat insane. i come back to what i said earlier. we would like to continue to remain part of this project. a lot has been spent on it already. were we to develop our own system it would require a lot more expenditure so we do see a win—win in continuing to participate in galileo but it needs more flexibility on the part of the commission and the other member states. it is a huge thing in your in tray, brexit. on other corporative ventures with the eu in your field of space and technology. what is going to happen to the copernicus project, for example? we try not to be affected by the commission's stance on galileo. we would like to continue participating in copernicus as well. it is a unique worldwide system of earth observation,
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observing satellites. we have again played a very important part in it. we are optimistic still that we can participate in it. it is a more open system by design. the americans are part of it, the canadians are part of it and the norwegian and swiss. a lot of this is about mood and the way it in which individual scientists who may in the past been attracted to come and work in the uk, partly on projects which are collaborative with the eu but also on british projects, whether they feel there is a future for them in the uk. as the leader of one of britain's most important scientific body, institutions right now, are you worried by the growing evidence of a brain drain with a lot of european talent deciding that there is no longer a future for them working in the uk? all the evidence i have seen over the last couple of years is that the uk space sector is continuing to grow very rapidly and attracting a lot of inward investment.
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we have been on quite a sharp upward trajectory for the last 15 years. we've has 8% annual growth in the sector. and there's been some very large growth in a number of businesses since the referendum. talis linear, a company for example has doubled its footprint in the uk within the last two or three years. you have chosen to be very specific about space but you are a particle physicist — i am thinking about the extremely important area of high science and looking at a survey here from the new scientist magazine, it spoke to 4000 talented people in science and engineering and they concluded almost two thirds of managers who recruit scientists and engineers in the uk believe brexit will affect their ability to attract top talent from within the eu. that is in terms of recruitment. if you listen to the news this week, you will see that the mac recommended...
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the advisory commission on migration. recommended the government should be selecting for immigration, those with higher qualifications. the space sector is a higher qualifications, probably has the highest percentage of people with a first degree of any sector in the uk. if people do not feel wanted they will not come. statements like the macs should make people with those highly qualified backgrounds feel wanted. and the question of money. horizon 2020 was an eu wide programme with a vast amount of money available. i think the uk secured about 4.6 billion euros worth of scientific funding from this programme. in the future, that will not be that. in the future, that will not be there. again, a massive hit on research and development. the uk will not let itself all behind on research and development. very has been massive increase in the uk over the last few years
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with a large amount of additional budget allocated. i think the uk is an extremely positive environment for research and develop an. if you have felt otherwise, do you feel a duty to say so? basically you are sounding extremely resilient and confident of the future. would you, as a public servant, fill a duty to speak out if you felt that the way that britain's r & d and its science and its ability to attract top talent was affected, would you fill a duty to speak out? clearly, i would always want to speak the truth as far as i see it. and certainly in the space sector i think that brexit has opportunities as well as challenges. we are looking to the outside world, we are looking to increase inward investment and export. international trade has been clear it wants to support space export. we have seen a lot of investment into the country. i don't think brexit is actually causing the space sector in the uk
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to contract in any sense. i think we are growing rapidly. let's talk about how you are growing and what your ambitions are. the former british astronaut helen sharman who still keeps a close eye on what you do, she is deeply disappointed about the lack of ambition in the uk space programme. she says that for decades successive british governments have been far too short term it about their involvement in key european space agency projects. we need to think the go, she said. we need to think bigger, she said. post—brexit she says that space is a good way to stay on the international stage and to remain in contact with europe and rebuild national pride and identity. have you got a big idea to do that? you do not need to look further than our announcements at the airshow a few months ago where we announce the investment at the airshow a few months ago where we announced the investment we are making into a spaceport in sutherland.
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£31.5 million into a project. in space finance times, that is not a lot. it is £31.5 million that is leveraging a lot of investment from private sector investment and regional growth funds. we are looking at a multi— 100 million pound investment going into launch in the uk, one of the most exciting developments in any european country. what helen seems to be worried about is that there is a lack of leadership in international space exploration. she would like the uk to show some leadership. more broadly, i am looking at, for example, the us right now who seem to be quite focused on the threat that they see in space programmes from, for example, china, which they say continues to mature its space capability rapidly. do you think there is too much focus on space as a sort of defence and militarised arena and not enough positive thinking, perhaps collaborative thinking about genuine space exploration? exploration is a very exciting area,
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both human and robotic. uk through much in the lead, certainly on robotics. we are building the mars rover, due to be launched in 2020, which will look for signs of life in the subsurface of miles. we are supporting human spaceflight as well. we have had an amazingly impactful voyage to be international space station that helped us reach 1.6 million schoolchildren. and we will do everything we can to support that. you trump tim pete but what is the point of sending more and more people to orbit endlessly around the earth. we need the russians to get the mother in the first place but is not the fat imaginative leap i am hoping i might hearfrom you. at least helen sharman hoping she might hearfrom you.
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we are also extremely interested in the possibility of bringing a sample back from mars. that is something that has never been done before and would enable much greater analysis of the content of martian rock. is a project that has been discussed for many years but the uk is right behind it. the americans seem quite interested. we would like to pay, play a big part in that. if you do not get excited about bringing something back from mars, it strikes me as one of the most exciting projects out there. i do get excited about some of those things. i was excited when donald trump said at the end last year that he was going to recommit to a manned space programme that he said would go back to the moon in a sense that that would just be a practice for sending men to mars. i come back to my question about motivation for space programme. donald trump also talks about the need to combat china in space. so here is my question. do you think that we, as a species, let alone the uk space agency, are we as a species ready for the kind of international collaboration, perhaps the europeans plus the americans, the chinese and the russians,
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all focusing on getting a man to land on mars because then it might happen. otherwise i cannot see it will ever happen. certainly international collaboration on exploration is moving forward. we have the second international exploration forum in japan earlier this year. one of the questions is well, what is the aim of it? perhaps a man on mars at this stage is perhaps a step too file —— farfor that international collaboration. is it? yes. it is a challenging mission. it's easy to get someone they are, the challenge is get them to earth. afforded a deep space gateway, as successor to the iss, a space station orbiting around the moon which would then give you the possibility of creating a base camp to possibly go to mars in the future.
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it is 50 years since neil armstrong. it seems to many people that the dynamism in space development right now comes from the private sector, not from agencies like yours, but from elon musk. it is absolutely true that a lot of dynamism is in the commercial sector and that is why the uk space agency is behind that dynamism. for example, we are the major fund in the european space agency's three most commercial programmes focused on the use of gps for observation and communications. from the upset when we were created in 2010, we wanted to grow the commercial space sector. we are not quite like nasa. we are not an institutional space agency in that traditional sense. but as a scientist and a man who'd spent a lot of time considering the possibilities of space, do you think elon musk considering the possibilities of space, do you think elon musk and others who are muscling in on this kind of private rocket sector and, let's not forget, this big falcon rocket
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supposedly being built will take private individuals around the moon, around the other side and back again as well as, he says, flying around the world in 40 minutes. do you think that is good for humanity or is it, a sort of wasting resources? i think what he is doing is brilliant because he is shaking up institutional space world. is showing we can do it much more cheaply, he is moving through the do design phase, production and operation far more quickly and it provides quite a fillip to nasa and the european space agency to think about the row —— there are processes and efficiency. i think he is to a certain extent. at the same time he has his own personal objective. he's interested in reaching mars. i don't think the rest of the world is quite there yet but he is nothing, if not exciting. and i think he is a useful stimulus. that answer could be read one of two ways. do you take a elon musk seriously? absolutely, we do.
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and do you regard him as a potential collaboration partner or a rival of sorts? i think a collaboration partner and a very helpful competitive stimulus. i don't think i want to call him a rival but i think he is a very good thing in many ways in the space sector. we shall watch this space but we have run out of time. hello again. friday is set to be cooler and fresher, with sunshine and blustery showers. before then, storm bronagh has really been packing a punch across england and wales. a good couple of inches of rain in places, producing some flooding and particularly squally winds of 60mph or so.
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very squally winds on that cold front as it moves away from the south—east. the centre of the storm is out into the north sea. still some very windy conditions early in the morning across the coasts of north—east england. the rain pushes away and then we're left with this north—westerly wind, meaning sunshine and blustery showers. quite heavy showers actually from time to time, and maybe some thunder in there too. a few getting into southern parts of england, but the bulk of them further north. look at those temperatures, back down again, numbers falling across england and wales, it will feel cooler and fresher everywhere. the winds lively as well, easing down a bit as we head through the evening and overnight. a lot of the showers fading away, a few going in the far north of scotland, cloud increasing in the south—west, but on the whole, a much chillier night with widely temperatures in the mid—single figures. into the first half of the weekend, wetter weather in the far north of scotland with some showers, and then we've got a slice of sunshine, but the cloud is increasing and thickening from the south—west,
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and it looks like we've got outbreaks of rain into the south—west of england, wales and the south—east maybe in the afternoon. temperatures are disappointing to say the least. 13—15 degrees at best. second half of the weekend, still a lot of uncertainty. looks like we'll see an area, quite a deep one, low pressure pushing its way across the uk. the centre could be further north. the winds could be further north as well. but at the moment, it looks like england and wales will get the worst of it. some heavy rain pushing its way across england and wales, and some very strong winds, particularly as the rain starts to clear away. as we move into monday, that wet and windy weather should have pushed away into the continent, leaving us with some much drier conditions. there'll be a few showers around, still quite windy in northern and eastern areas, lighter winds towards the south—west and perhaps a top temperature of 15 or 16 degrees. big changes on the way for next week. instead of the jet stream being right over the uk, driving in all these storms, it gets pushed further north, and that allows high pressure to build in.
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so that's what's settling things down, and certainly changing the look and the feel of the weather as we head into next week. so tuesday, a lot of dry weather. by this stage, it won't be as windy. light winds for the most part. those are the temperatures, 15 to perhaps 17 degrees. but it will be quite a bit cooler at night. this is the briefing — i'm victoria fritz. our top story. hundreds of people are missing in tanzania after a ferry capsizes on lake victoria. more than forty are confirmed dead. a british cabinet minister says there are no changes on the table at the moment after prime minister theresa may's brexit plan was rejected by eu leaders. the rap producer marion suge knight pleads guilty to manslaughter for running down two men in his pick up truck. coming up in the business briefing: sky under the hammer. the multi—billion dollar battle for the broadcast giant could soon be decided in britain's biggest ever auction.
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