back to article European Space Agency chief will quit 'perfect job' in 2021 after 'dirty games' to oust him

European Space Agency Director General, Jan Wörner, has confirmed he will be vacating his post in 2021, citing "some hurdles" in public as his reason for leaving but writing of "dirty games" in an email to staff. Wörner was elected DG of ESA in 2014 and, following a contact extension in 2018, his term is due to end on 30 June …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not surprising

    Considering the political hurtles an administrator of a space program in a single country goes through (priorities often changed on whim without realistic funding not to mention after every election, etc) I can only imagine how much worse it would be with multiple countries perhaps with different interests involved. Still ESA has done good work so kudos.

  2. NerryTutkins

    What's in a name

    "European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA) prepares to become the EU Space Programme Agency (EUSPA) in January 2021. "

    The name change suggests that the EU intends to have a broader remit with its space programme than satnav in the future. That may well start to eat into the ESA's turf, if EU nations focus on keeping certain space programmes in-house rather than in the broader ESA setup (including the UK), or that the space programme will increasingly focus on intelligence and security programmes.

    Who knows, one day Europe may have a proper visionary leader and they can rename it 'Space Force' with a camp logo and everything, after they've built a wall to keep the Brits out.

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: What's in a name

      To me, the switch from "European" to "EU" sounds like an attempt to put a block in the way of any UK involvement in Galileo or similar projects.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: What's in a name

        > To me, the switch from "European" to "EU" sounds like ...

        ... the EU bureaucrats moving in harder on something which has good PR "face".

        Standard pattern.*

        As is: the ensuing pseudo-political parasitic bitchfights for power behind the scenes.

        As is: the pure-parasites winning (obsessed, and undistracted by any thoughts of actually having to DO the job) that non-job game over anybody genuinely professional and result-focussed and hence actually trying to DO the job.


        * Same in every BIG system, including corporates. Scaffolds for gamesmanship, petri-dishes for parasites.

        The bigger the system, the more intense the infestation.

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: What's in a name

          > anybody genuinely professional and result-focussed and hence actually trying to DO the job

          This behaviour is also the standard pattern for the starting point, for WHY the parasites get enthused.

          Because it typically gets excellent results. So the group/system starts to shine.

          Like a beacon for the parasites. And don't they start to flock in once someone like that starts to rack up the successes.


          As JWZ Jamie Zawinski put it in his famous resignation letter: "two kinds of people: those who want to go work for a company to make it successful, and those who want to go work for a successful company. Netscape's early success and rapid growth caused us to stop getting the former and start getting the latter."

        2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: What's in a name

          The whole process is:

          1. creators of value create value, attract attention

          2. creator-of-value driven out

          3. parasites move triumphantly from basking in reflected glory, to full usurpation

          4. hard-created group-momentum carries all forward. Usurpers explain to media and industry groups the success of their strategy.

          5. with the heart dead, the group/system loses momentum from the inside out. Random non-collapsing segments are clutched to / pivoted to, or segments are bolted on which have 0 planning horizon / no R&D. Eg, HP moves from R&D Cutting-edge to manufacturer of home-printer ink; IBM moves from Hardware&Software Cutting-edge to Professional Services ("body shop"); Noble moves from global cross-commodities powerhouse knocking heads with Glencore and Cargill to now pretending it's always been just a military supplier.

          5b. But big systems take a long time to fail; most systems actually just grind on painfully, sideways and slowly down, the bull infested with ticks.

          6. passive parasites stay put; ambitious parasites move on to the next target

          N. rinse & repeat

        3. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: What's in a name

          Not that this sort of thing gives me the shits and a dose of the rants... No no no not at all.


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's in a name

      If the EU’s goal is to usurp ESA, it’s more than the UK that might be upset. Canada is also a member of ESA. Italy, which has a fairly active space industry, is not (it wasn’t last I heard).

      If they succeed in this what they’ll have is Italy (no money), France (no money), Germany (has some money but is probably fed up of paying for everything) and sundry others. Meanwhile the hot new New Space small LEO trend requires small launchers, and the UK is close to having 2 or 3 of that class. Oh and quite a lot of the serious expertise in space engineering resides in the UK, not just in France Germany and Italy.

      Hopefully European govs won’t compound madness with more madness...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's in a name

        Italy is a member of ESA but several EU member states are not. Norway and Switzerland are other non-EU ESA members who make significant contributions. I doubt the non-EU ESA members would be happy to see ESA's assets and intellectual property simply handed to the EU.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: What's in a name

        If Australia can be in the Eurovision Song Contest - why can't Canada be in the EU space agency? Then they can be even more smug about refusing to let the UK in...

        Shouldn't we have all our space facilities in Australia anyway? That's where the original Space Force launched from - back when Jet Morgan was in charge...

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