Pop singer Kylie Minogue has quit The Voice after one series.
The 45-year-old joined the BBC talent show last year, replacing Jessie
J, and was credited with boosting viewing figures during the first few
However, she said touring commitments meant she would be unable to
return for a second series.
“Due to timing of my tour I won’t be back next season for The Voice
UK,” she wrote on Twitter. “Thanks to all who supported!”
“I absolutely loved my time on the show, and I’ll miss all of the
incredible people who were a part of my experience,” the singer said.
Jermain Jackman was crowned the winner of this year’s series, marking
the first victory for mentor will.i.am.
Minogue’s candidate in the final, Jamie Johnson, was eliminated in the
first round of phone voting.
Although the third series of the talent show enjoyed a ratings spike
during the audition stages, peaking with 9.41m viewers, the live final
was the least successful yet.
An average audience of 6.6 million tuned in for the show, down from
7.24 million in 2012, and 7.1 million people the year before.
The BBC has already commissioned another two series of The Voice.
Moira Ross, executive producer at production company Wall To Wall,
said: “Kylie has brought her own very special magic to The Voice UK
and we have loved having her on the show.
“We wish her well for her tour and hope to welcome her back in the future.”
It has not yet been confirmed whether Minogue’s fellow panellists Tom
Jones, Ricky Wilson and will.i.am will return for the fourth series
next year. – BBC Enertainment
Airbus to build critical European weather satellites
By Jonathan Amos
The competition to build Europe’s next generation of polar-orbiting
weather satellites has been won by Airbus.
The big aerospace concern was declared the winner at the latest
meeting of the European Space Agency’s (Esa) Industrial Policy
A contract valued in the hundreds of millions of euros will be signed
by Esa and Airbus in due course.
The existing Metop series, as it is known, has a profound impact on
the quality of weather forecasting.
The satellites’ sensors gather profiles of atmospheric conditions,
layer by layer.
Studies comparing all the different types of meteorological
observations (including surface weather stations, balloons and
aeroplanes, etc) have found Metop data to have the biggest single
contribution to the accuracy of the 24-hour look ahead, at around 25%.
The improved forecasts of storms and other extreme events are
estimated to be worth billions of euros annually in terms of lives
saved and property damage avoided.
Thursday’s IPC decision is therefore a critically important one for
the continent, by ensuring there is continuity of data when the
existing series of Metop satellites is retired.
“Metop first generation has established itself as an essential series
of satellites for weather forecasting. It gives the most detailed
measurements from space for such purposes,” explained Esa programme
manager Graeme Mason.
“The first objective of the second generation (SG) is simply to
continue the observations without a gap because we cannot do without
them. But we want also to improve the measurements – to improve the
resolution, to see finer details in the atmosphere.
“And the third objective is to make additional measurements, and we’ll
be flying a couple of new instruments,” he told BBC News.
Metop-SG will carry 11 instruments spread across two platforms. This
is a major difference from the first generation series which packs all
the sensors on to a single satellite. Two of these spacecraft have so
far been launched; a third will go up at the end of the decade.
Another major difference between the two series will be the approach
to end-of-life decommissioning.
The first series will be de-orbited by nudging them down from their
roughly 800km-high operational altitude until they are caught by the
atmosphere, and pulled in to burn to destruction. This should take no
more than 25 years, to comply with international space-debris
The disposal of the second generation, however, will be faster and
The satellites will fly with bigger fuel tanks and more powerful
thrusters, enabling them to target their destructive dive on to an
uninhibited region of the South Pacific.
The whole procedure should take just a month.
Esa says the accumulation of old hardware in orbit is becoming a
significant issue and the plans for Metop-SG demonstrate the
seriousness with which it is tackling the problem.
The competitors for the SG contract were given an additional two
months to work out how best to carry out the de-orbiting. It will mean
two thirds of the fuel on each spacecraft being reserved just for the
The first pair of Metop-SG satellites should launch in 2021/22. The
third and final pair will likely go up in the 2030s, ensuring
continuity of data deep into the 2040s.
Airbus will use its facilities in Germany, France and the UK for most
of the work on Metop-SG. – BBC Environment