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Parliament debates UK Space Policy

Last Updated on Monday, 12 April 2010 15:34
Published on Thursday, 24 November 2005 00:00

In the run up to the inter-Ministerial meeting at ESA in December, Parliament debates the UK's Space Policy.  At a private member's debate in Westminster Hall on 23 November the following points were made:

- 15,000 people are employed in Britain in space-related jobs.

- The industry generates about £4 billion a year for the British economy

- However Britain spends £195 million a year on civil space activities. That is equivalent to about a penny per person per day. As a proportion of gross domestic product this places the UK 16th in the world

- The first objective of the Government's Space Policy is to maintain high-quality science.The second objective is to stimulate commercial use of space.The third objective is to seek to identify and support projects that most benefit the lives of citizens in the UK and the wider world

- The UK is committed to 'Galileo' as  a key part of the  infrastructure for a digital world
 ( RAS evidence to the Transport Committee of the House of Commons can be read here pdf_small Galileo.pdf )

The proceedings of the Space Policy debate can be read here

( The recent  RAS commissioned review of the scientific case for Human Space Exploration was  mentioned during the debate...

'I recently saw a Royal Astronomical Society report on the scientific case for human space exploration. It reads extremely well, but I urge the Minister not to be seduced by the idea that Britain should start investing in manned space exploration. We have not dedicated enough money to existing space activity, which has a much higher priority. I was the Minister who decided that we should not have an active role in the international space station, simply because it would have sucked out money disproportionately from every other activity. I was not convinced that it was good science anyway, and I believe that my successor, the noble Lord Sainsbury, has been grateful to me ever since'
( Ian Taylor MP, Minister for Space in John Major's government)

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