£60m to boost UK space industry interests
The Government will provide £60m to Europe’s space programme, the Chancellor has announced.
The investment is intended to instigate “significant returns”; the amount will be dictated by the outcome of discussions at European Space Agency Ministerial.
Investment through the UK Space Agency will also secure the future of the ESA facility in Oxfordshire, including transferring ESA’s telecoms satellite headquarters to the UK and creating 100 jobs in the process.
Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts said: “This increase will bring the UK’s total investment in the European Space Agency to an average of £240 million per year over the next five years.
“This will allow the UK to play a leading role in the next phase of European space collaboration. It will drive growth, create extra skilled jobs and help the UK to realise its ambition to have a £30 billion space industry by 2030.”
Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of the European Space Agency added: ’With this substantial increase in investment, the UK is helping to promote competition in and encourage the growth of the European space sector by developing space capacities in the UK.
“In addition to the increased use of UK industry, our commitment to growing ESA’s facility here in Harwell confirms that the UK Space Agency is taking up more of a leadership role in key parts of the space sector.”
The Government expects the new resources to focus on projects that will benefit the UK economy, such as the development of a new generation platform for telecommunications and weather satellites.
Dr David Williams, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “Space is a key asset for the UK. The decisions made at the upcoming Ministerial meeting will shape the future of the European space sector, especially given the current economic downturn.
“By pledging an extra £300 million over the next five years, we can put the UK in a leadership role for several major ESA projects. That will ensure that UK industry continues to win lucrative space contracts over the next 5 to 10 years and builds on the momentum of the UK’s flourishing space sector.”