back to article Dundee Satellite Receiving Station: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

The tortured tale of the Dundee Satellite Receiving Station took another turn in recent weeks as a proposal to rescue the venerable institution suffered a setback. After over four decades of service, it was announced the shutters were to be pulled on the Dundee Satellite Receiving Station (DSRS) earlier this year after the …

  1. Bloodbeastterror

    The UK in a nutshell...

    Small minds with limited vision who just can't see any picture at all, never mind the big one.

    £338k? Grayling spends more than that on lunch.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The UK in a nutshell...

      Of course, it would all have been managed so much better if Scotland had gained its independence.

      1. Nial

        Re: The UK in a nutshell...

        "Of course, it would all have been managed so much better if Scotland had gained its independence"

        I presume that's sarcasm?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The UK in a nutshell...

          Sarcasm? You may very well think so, I'm afraid I couldn't possibly comment.

    2. TVU

      Re: The UK in a nutshell...

      "Small minds with limited vision who just can't see any picture at all, never mind the big one.

      £338k? Grayling spends more than that on lunch"

      ^ i fully agree with this. Despite all the central government BS about doing so much to support science and the environment, it's just not true. For example, it was quietly announced a couple of weeks ago that the greenhouse gas monitoring station on Ascension Island is going to be shut down.

      Now compare that with the £ tens of millions that were spent on the Ramsgate port fiasco.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The UK in a nutshell...

        For the Ascension Island article:

        https://www.newscientist.com/article/2205544-vital-global-climate-monitoring-scheme-axed-on-remote-uk-island/

        1. NeilPost Bronze badge

          Re: The UK in a nutshell...

          Although the loss of this is complete shit, the irony scientific station monitoring global greenhouse gases doing “ The Met Office says it will still support Royal Holloway in the monthly job of collecting flasks of air from the island and flying them to the UK.” is not lost on me.

          Thx for the link though. Really interesting, and damning.

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: The UK in a nutshell...

      £338k is 0.006 garden bridges, 0.245 Seabourne Fright ferries, or 0.0003 DUPs.

      1. Nial

        Re: The UK in a nutshell...

        "or 0.0003 DUPs"

        The DUP negotiated extra spending in NI, that benefits everyone there.

        1. hammarbtyp

          Re: The UK in a nutshell...

          I can only assume you are saying that tongue in cheek or are you suggesting that a sectarian populist party has any interest in the areas of NI that it does not represent?

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: The UK in a nutshell...

            It is offering grants to allow painting of King Billy murals to all residents of the Belfast whatever their politics

            1. katrinab Silver badge

              Re: The UK in a nutshell...

              Nope, it is paying farmers to heat empty sheds all year round. See the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal.

    4. Loatesy

      Re: The UK in a nutshell...

      Nope, it's spending billions sending young British soldiers into war zones to burn foreign farmers poppy fields, and then spending millions encouraging British farmers to plant poppy fields.

  2. 0laf Silver badge
    Alien

    There are probably other factors at play. Maybe the floor space has been earmarked already for the chancellors new bog or something like that. Or the head of the tracking team has fallen out with someone in a high place. We all know of these sorts of organisational politics that can take precidence over more practical or important things.

    1. Andytug

      Plus also the unwillingness of anyone in power to admit they were wrong....

      ..which you can see in any politician or business leader these days, even when proven wrong they will not admit it, nor change their minds, even if it ends up costing them money or crashing their firm/country into the ground. To admit being wrong is seen as weakness, rather then the strength it should be.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Plus also the unwillingness of anyone in power to admit they were wrong....

        "which you can see in any politician or business leader these days"

        Fixed that for you. There's nothing new about people not wanting to admit they were wrong.

    2. oiseau Silver badge
      FAIL

      ... the University’s refusal to pause in shutting down the Dundee Satellite Receiving Station is, at best, perplexing.

      +

      There are probably other factors at play.

      Indeed ...

      Be sure as hell that there's something else going on here, ie: besides the lack of funding.

      It's an utter disgrace that Dundee University seems to be involved in something with this lack of transparency, there was a time when this sort of thing was unthinkable.

      O.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The odd thing is that the usual set of "people in the know" generally don't know what is up.

      The smoke-screen of the NERC funding has been exposed. They were saying that funding the Dundee station would endanger the university's financial future, but paying more for a principle obviously is money well spent. And given that Clyde Space is not short of a bob or two and has good reason to spend it there, the refusal seems odd. More so given the rumour that they declined the offer by Craig Clark to personally visit the principle and vice-principle to go over a possible deal.

      The rooms currently occupied by the remains of the station are not exactly prime estate, and it seems that nobody from upper management has ever visited the place, so a person-to-person feud is difficult to understand.

      Best-guess is the VP is up to something (or simply won't allow his authority to be challenged) as they say it predated the current principal's appointment. For whatever reason it is a rather sad ending.

      AC for obvious reasons!

      1. DJO Silver badge

        The rooms currently occupied by the remains of the station are not exactly prime estate

        I wondered about that, would the site be of interest to a developer perhaps? Close enough to existing housing to be rezoned as residential?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I believe they have a small room on the Dental hospital roof (NHS building) beneath the antennas there, and another small room on the university's Tower Building on Perth road (again, where the antennas are).

          The main area they have is on the top floor of the Ewing building which is pretty central to the campus. It was electrical engineering in the past, but now shared with estates & buildings (probably half of it on ground and first floors), some physics in the basement, and the "Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science" as the highest profile occupier taking about half of the first floor. It might be they want to expand, but nothing is very clear and probably half of the stations' current area area has no disabled access.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            The University management is a complete mess at the moment. There is a desire on some people's part to bring in people from other universities to make some changes (such as the new Principal), but the rump of not invented here, promotion-based-on-years-served people who graduated from Dundee and never left are determined not to let that work. Dundee uni is the academic equivalent of "Deliverance" in some ways.

            One department in particular that is essentially non-functioning due to people refusing to cooperate with management (amongst other things) is the School of Dentistry - of which there was mention above. I wouldn't be surprised to find that this is part but not the whole, of the problem.

            AC because... well, you know.

  3. J.Smith

    As a resident of the drug deaths capital of Europe (Dundee), I can't say I'm surprised. Umpteen hundred of millions are being and have been spent prettifying the waterfront, not to mention the V&A (nice building on the outside, nothing inside). Misuse and abuse of financial resources is no surprise. Industry is leaving Dundee, but hey we have a pretty building.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Around a Billion on the waterfront redevelopment over a few decades as I recall.

      They've already made an arse of the 'plaza' behind the V&A by wacking a fucking great office cube behind it. Great idea. Spend millions to put in an 'iconic' building then hide it behind a fucking identikit office. Which then sits empty because the rent is so high because it's the only spot in the city with a view of the fucking V&A.

  4. Paul Herber Silver badge

    You'll have had

    You'll have had yer tea!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You'll have had

      Duh, wrong city! Try again...

      1. Paul Herber Silver badge

        Re: You'll have had

        Don't worry, we're only here for the annual beano!

    2. OssianScotland Silver badge

      Re: You'll have had

      Och, just a wee one, then, Dougal....

  5. robert lindsay
    FAIL

    This is a international issue, this from the ocean-color mailing list from NASA:

    Folks,

    In early May I reported on the decision that I had just heard about that if followed through on would mean that the 50+ years of dedicated service to the international remote sensing community by the University of Dundee Satellite Receiving Station would be coming to an end. Despite the heroic efforts of a great many people, expressions of support from all sectors both near and far and even the formal submission of a university/industry partnership proposal for not only the continued operation of the Station but which outlined a clear, critical and meaningful role for the Station into the future, it appears that the position of a very few key administrators seems unchangeable and as evidenced by the message below, it seems as if the die is cast and what without hesitation I believe is a national treasure, may be lost. Facilities such as this are not just a collection of hardware, antennas, cables and computers. Those things are easily procured. However, it is the skill, experience, understanding and more importantly, the philosophy and dedication to the job, the science and to service to the community that is irreplaceable and once lost, can never be restored. As an optimist, I would like to believe that a last minute reprieve might still be possible but I am passing along this note from the Station in case it is not.

    So, it is with a heavy heart and deep sadness that I pass along this note.

    With my very best regards,

    gene

  6. Neoc

    "the University’s refusal to pause in shutting down the Dundee Satellite Receiving Station is, at best, perplexing"

    Not a bit. Follow the money/interests.

    For example, what happens to the EEP's old (1954) and, let's face it, ugly Ewing building once it no longer houses 2 of the 6 antennas, hmm? Just sayin'.

    1. 0laf Silver badge

      Yep could well be earmarked for some new development. Students gym or whatever else they demand these days. I went to Dundee Uni in the 90s and the only demands and protests I can remember were when the price of a pint went up from £1 to £1.40.

      Sanitation and food were a distant second concern behind that.

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