Alpha Centuri is right, and I'm shocked at the level of ignorance show by the BBC 'have your say' posters.<br />ESA is not the same as the EU. ESA does have a 'full blow space program', maybe only one third of NASA but much bigger than the Russian budget. ESA has a SUCCESSFUL space program, excluding Beagle which was under funded. ESA is some ways is better than NASA, who have political problems and the Shuttle white elephant to contend with. The Russians have offered access to Klipper to ESA at an absolute bargain price and the UK is being now asked to get involved with that decision in December. Lets understand what is being offered: 40years of Russian space development for one tenth the cost of the CEV. Klipper is a brilliant piece of engineering because its simple and aims for minimum engineering risk and maximum flexibility. ESA is being asked for 100m euro a year for Klipper. The CEV is going to cost $6 billion, probably twice as much, due to problems, spec changes and procrastination etc. Klipper is the bargain of the century, ESA and the UK would be crazy not to get involved.