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Analysis: Syrian crisis unlikely to affect UK-US space cooperation but relationship with Russia is fraying

3 Sep 2013, 10:50 UTC
Analysis: Syrian crisis unlikely to affect UK-US space cooperation but relationship with Russia is fraying
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While the Parliament of the United Kingdom has now voted, in effect, to stay out of punitive military action against Syrian government’s apparent use of Sarin nerve gas against its own people, some are wondering if this will have an effect on US-UK space relations. The answer is probably not. It has only been recently that the UK has become more involved in the US space programme via its interests in the ESA project to build the Orion crew vehicle’s service module. This will probably be unaffected due to its international civilian nature. Likewise, the planned trip of the UK citizen Major Tim Peake to the International Space Station as an ESA astronaut is still likely to go ahead.
Probably more damaging to future UK-US space cooperation and especially to the UK’s future access to US satellite-derived defenced and intelligence information, was the leak to the UK’s Guardian newspaper by former CIA operative Edward Snowden, that the UK’s monitoring and listening network run by GCHQ had been complicit with the US National Security Agency in using satellite and web-based surveillance systems to monitor the voice and e-mail/communications of both “friendly governments” and also those of US citizens. While this latter ...

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