Today MPs took the opportunity at Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy questions to quiz the Space Minister Chris Skidmore MP on what’s next for the UK Space Sector.
With Brexit taking most of the media attention of late, it has gone relatively under the radar how exciting a time it is for the UK Space sector. Earlier this year the sector was said to be growing faster than the economy in the latest ‘UK space industry: size and health report’ and continues to punch above its weight.
In the Commons the Minster was pressed to share what ways the UK Government was supporting the UK Space Sector to which Chris Skidmore outlined that the Government has invested £80m in the Oneweb satellite constellation to deliver global 5G communications in the past month; announced £25m will be invested in the Plate Observatory mission and committed £880 million to be invested in the world’s largest telescope.
Another exciting development for UK space on the horizon is the UK’s first ever vertical spaceport in Sutherland, Scotland, which has been dedicated £50m of future funding and the possible horizontal spaceports, including one at Cornwall Airport which Newquay MP Steve Double asked the Minister about too.
Finally, in the question time, John Howell MP asked the Minister to provide an update to the Commons following the UK’s decision to develop an alternative to the EU’s Galileo satellite system. The Minister highlighted how the Government so far has committed £92m towards creating a UK domestic alternative to Galileo and 50 UK businesses have expressed an interest in developing this system so far.
With all the above mentioned in the BEIS question time today as well as the UK-made ‘Rosalind Franklin’ ExoMars rover taking off in 2021, it is an incredibly exciting time for the UK Space Sector.