Brexit is going to have myriad implications for the British people over the next few years.
But one of the lesser-known results (particularly if no deal can be reached with the EU) is that we might get less warning about incoming space debris.
That’s because our impending divorce from Europe may impact our involvement in the EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EUSST) programme.
Set up in 2014, the programme is designed to warn about any space-based debris that could pose a risk to satellites or become a ‘re-entry warning’ that we need to be concerned about.
As noted by the Guardian, a briefing paper being released by the government states that if no deal can be reached – the UK will exit the programme and cease to receive any help from it.
Our planet is now surrounded by vast amounts of floating rubbishThankfully, the planning document reckons we’ll be able to get a heads-up on any rogue asteroids heading our way from the Americans.
‘The UK will continue to receive space, surveillance and tracking data from the United States of America,’ it states.
At the moment, a UK-based centre provides warning about fragmentation of space debris. It’s not clear yet what will happen to this after Brexit.
A tethered harpoon system to capture derelict satellites is being studied for ESA’s e.DeOrbit mission, part of the Agency’s Clean Space initiative to tackle orbital debris while also reducing the impacts of the space industry on the terrestrial environment. (Image: Airbus Defence and Space)Best for Britain champion Jo Stevens MP said: ‘It is deeply worrying that the UK will be shut out of some of the most cutting edge research in the world. This research provides thousands of high-tech jobs and provides the economy billions every year.
‘Theresa May used to say Brexit wouldn’t be the end of the world – but actually it could be!
A series of new Brexit documents are being released (Image: EPA)‘By walking away from these collaborative projects, we will be isolating ourselves and having to start from scratch, spending a fortune when our European counterparts have already finished the job.’
Other space initiatives the UK may have to relinquish after leaving the European Union (EU) include the Copernicus satellite constellation to monitor environmental damage and the Galileo satellite navigation system.
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