Space: UK to integrate commercial and military space activities as part of government’s new strategy

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Building on existing strengths in satellite manufacturing and communications, the UK government has set out plans to establish the country as one of the most attractive and innovative space economies in the world.


A national space strategy launched today, coordinated between the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Ministry of Defence, and the UK Space Agency, aims to boost the UK’s GBP16bn-a-year space industry, boost private investment and capitalise on existing strengths, while also committing to the delivery of the UK’s first Defence Space Portfolio.


READ: Taxpayer backed UK space company OneWeb gets $0.5bn investment top-up


Under this portfolio, GBP1.4bn of state funds will be funnelled towards the development of new capabilities, on top of GBP5bn already committed to enhance the armed forces’ satellite communications.


Bringing together the UK government’s civil and defence space activities under a single strategy, ensures “an integrated approach to combating hostile forces and emerging international threats such as cyber-attacks and anti-satellite missiles, while protecting UK interests at home and abroad”, the joint departmental statement said.


It also sets out how the government will build on the UK’s strengths in space including satellite manufacturing and communications, while also supporting British companies developing space technologies, such as last year’s investment in satellite operator OneWeb, while also focusing on new and emerging markets like in-orbit servicing and space debris removal.


Science and innovation minister George Freeman said: “Today’s National Space Strategy sets out our vision for ensuring that our thriving space sector lifts off for the long term. It will put rocket boosters under the UK’s most innovative space businesses, ensuring they can unlock private capital and benefit our home-grown space expertise.


“Above all, by integrating our commercial and military space activities, we will use space to protect British interests abroad and on home soil, establishing the UK as one of the most attractive and innovative space economies in the world.”


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