The UK space sector holds great potential, generating an annual income of £14.8 billion—but could require a rethink, with UK investment in the sector lagging far behind that of nations including France and Italy.
Following the establishment of a new National Space Council in June 2020, the Government has promised to publish a new UK Space Strategy, whilst making steps to improve its satellite infrastructure.
However, investing in and supporting a thriving UK space sector must take into account the impacts of the covid-19 pandemic and the UK’s departure from the European Union.
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has launched a new inquiry, investigating the infrastructure, skills and investment required for an effective UK space strategy.
Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, said:
“The satellite industry is one of the fastest growing in the world and Britain has had a strong position in the research, development and manufacture of satellites and the systems that make use of them. If the UK is to be a leading force we need to develop and execute a space strategy which builds on our strengths and equips us for the future. Our inquiry will examine what we need to do to make the most of this formidable opportunity”
The Committee is therefore seeking written submissions by Wednesday 23 June addressing any or all of the following topics:
- What are the prospects for the UK’s global position as a space nation, individually and through international partnerships;
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current UK space sector and research and innovation base;
- What lessons can be learned from the successes and failures of previous space strategies for the UK and the space strategies of other countries;
- What should be the aims and focus of a new UK Space Strategy, including considerations of:
- skills and diversity;
- research funding, investment and economic growth;
- civil and defence applications;
- international considerations and partnerships;
- current regulatory and legislative frameworks and impact on UK launch potential; and
- impacts of low Earth orbit satellites on research activities.
- What needs to be done to ensure the UK has appropriate, resilient and future-proofed space and satellite infrastructure for applications including:
- navigation systems;
- weather forecasting;
- earth observation including climate change; and
- communication (including broadband).
The Committee values diversity and seeks to ensure this where possible. The Committee encourages members of underrepresented groups to submit written evidence.