With the much anticipated launch of Major Tim Peake today, it is apt that the government has published the UK’s first National Space Policy to coincide with the first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station.
The UK space industry is a dynamic and innovative sector, with the benefits of economic growth and strong productivity shared across the country. The value of the space sector totalled around £11.8bn in 2014 and both industry and government have an ambitious target to grow the sector to over £40bn by 2030. The sector directly employs around 34,000 people, including 1,000 apprentices and hopes to create 100,000 new jobs by 2030.
In its first National Space Policy, the government has recognised that space is of strategic importance to the UK and supports the growth of a competitive commercial space sector. In order to do this the government have committed to:
- Provide businesses with the environment and infrastructure necessary to generate large scale innovation.
- Support joined-up working between academic and industrial sectors to catalyse discovery.
- Support innovation and entrepreneurship which aims to underpin private-sector investment in space eg through the Satellite Applications Catapult in Harwell.
- Fund a range of technology support programmes from blue-sky research to near-market applications.
- Adopt space solutions for the delivery of public services, with government acting as a customer.
- Facilitate access to market, promote the availability of investment capital and implement a regulation regime which promotes growth and supports national security.
- Assist UK companies to compete in the growing global market for space-related products.
Both the National Space Policy and Tim Peake’s legacy will bolster the UK’s global reputation as a space nation and support government, industry and academia to come together to guarantee our future in space.