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Monday, June 24, 2013

The UK Space Agency Must Be The Worst Space Agency In The World & A Zero Cost £10 Billion Alternative

   Recently I was talking to somebody who I won't name but is in a position to know who said:

"The UK Space Agency must be the worst Space Agency in the world"

and went on to justify it firstly with the example of Virgin Galactic's initially wishing to use a Scottish site for their suborbital northern (to see the Aurora Borealis) flights but had got no support or help in getting through the bureaucratic maze*.

    His second example is that the space agency themselves charge £6,500 for filling in a form.

    For these worse than useless roadblocks we are paying good money. Compare and contrast my previous submission to the government that we put Britain's space budget into an X-Prize Foundation which a subsequent FoI showed had never even been considered, let alone answered.

    Which incidentally brings me to a back of the envelope bootstrapping method of paying for a space and other technology prizes.

    Can we pay for government x-prizes out of printing more money.

    For money printing to be non-inflationary it cannot increase faster than the rate of economic growth.

   Currently space industries are worth £9 billion and growing at 10% a year. If X-Prizes (& getting rid of worse than useless regulatory parasitism) were only to double that this would mean an extra £900 million a year. Money in circulation is about 1.5 times annual GDP so the supply could be increased by about £1.4 billion a year. Putting that into the Foundation funds (or giving them permission to print money of the assessed increase in space industry GDP beyond the previous annual 10%) . I would first include transferring the current space budget of about £300 million given to ESA via our "space agency" to the X-prize fund.

   The beauty of this system is that it is self funding**. If there is no increase in space activity there will be no extra money available but equally if there is no increase in space activity in Britain nobody is going to win any of these prizes. If there is as much as I expect (US space industry is growing at 17% and I am sure this is not the upper limit) and the Foundation is able to offer prizes on the, very conservative, basis that they will not all be won before 5 years that would mean they could immediately offer £6,500 billion  of prizes [(£1500m + 300m)X5].

* to be fair the bureaucratic maze was mainly the responsibility of the Scottish government and they did nothing to facilitate Virgi8n either, thus Virgin ultimately went to Sweden.

** actually to be properly revenue neutral the total increase in taxes from this extra 7% or much more growth should also go to the X-Prize Foundation - that being about 37% of the increase in GDP which comes to about £230 million in the first year and rising by more than the same amount annually bringing the total in 5 years up to an absolute minimum of £10 billion [the original £6.5m + 230x(1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5)}


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