Article written by Mark Garnier, Conservative MP for Wyre Forest, and Chair of the Space All Party Parliamentary Group.
Taking place 4 – 10 October, this year’s World Space Week is Space and Entrepreneurship themed, and I am thrilled to talk about a topic that’s close to my heart: the profound impact of space on our everyday lives and the significant contribution it makes to the UK economy.
As we celebrate World Space Week, it is important to reflect on how space isn’t just about astronauts, life on mars, and distant galaxies. It is an often-underappreciated integral part of our daily lives. From GPS navigation that guides us about to the meteorological data that helps us plan what we’re doing at the weekend, and whether to put the washing out… Space technology plays a critical role.
Space-based applications have revolutionised our communications, enabling us to breakdown borders when connecting with loved ones globally, conduct business seamlessly and access information at our fingertips. UK-manufactured satellites help us predict, monitor, and respond to natural disasters and climate change, saving lives and protecting communities and livelihoods, and satellite position and timing signals underpin our financial services sector and let us know when to expect our parcel deliveries.
The UK’s involvement in space exploration, technology and its applications are not just a simply matter of curiosity, it’s a highly commercial and entrepreneurial driver of our economy. Our flourishing space sector contributes £7 billion in value add, while generating £17.5 billion in turnover, and exporting £5.9 billion worth of goods, all while employing 48,800 people including 2,300 talented apprentices. The majority of space companies in the UK are SMEs – located across the breadth of the nation. It’s a sector that continually fosters innovation and inspires the next generation of scientists, engineers, and space enthusiasts.
Our UK space endeavours are at the cutting edge of the space sector – including work already in train to clean up the space environment, explore how we can use space’s low gravity to manufacture novel materials and, as we look to the future, consider whether we could harness the power of the sun from space to beam green energy back to earth. We also play a vital role in international space collaborations, contributing to scientific discoveries and ensuring global and national security through satellite monitoring, secure communications and UK Space Command.
In my role as Chair of the Space All Party Parliamentary Group, I’m proud to work with our thriving UK space organisations including ADS and UKSpace who support the work of my group in advocating for policies that support this dynamic industry. Its critical we continue investing in research and development, education, and infrastructure to remain at the forefront of space exploration and technology.
So, as you gaze up at the night sky during World Space Week, remember that space isn’t just about stars – it’s about the countless ways it enriches our daily lives and fuels our economic growth. Let’s celebrate the achievements of our space pioneers and look forward to the future where infinite possibilities of space continue to shape our world.