Press release

Shaping the future of the UK space sector

Government response to the space growth action plan and launch of the national space security policy.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

LISA Pathfinder spacecraft
LISA Pathfinder spacecraft going through magnetic testing. Credit: Airbus Defence & Space.

The government has today (30 April 2014) released two new policies that will shape the future of the UK’s growing space industry.

The government response to the space Innovation and Growth Strategy (IGS) action plan 2014 – 2030 and the national space security policy (NSSP) set out plans to achieve a £40 billion UK space industry by 2030 and a coherent approach to protecting the UK’s space assets.

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts said:

The space sector continues to thrive, and is one of our 8 Great Technologies with the potential to propel UK growth.

Space industries already support 95,000 full time jobs and generate £9.1 billion for the economy each year, and our response to the Growth Action Plan shows our commitment to secure its future growth and realise ambitions to develop a viable UK space port for commercial space flight.

The government response to the space IGS action plan

The government has broadly welcomed all of the suggestions made in the IGS and in addition to committing stronger support for export and agreeing further work to improve regulatory framework for space activity, the response also incorporates measures to create and sustain new business in related markets, including the development of a vibrant regional SME community spread across the UK.

Actions emerging from the IGS include:

  • the government will finalise the changes to the Outer Space Act limit on third party liability as soon as possible, and the UK Space Agency will review the UK approach to regulation of cubesats and other small satellites

This will improve the UK space sector’s international competitiveness.

  • the UK Space Agency will simplify the process of obtaining satellite licenses, including working with Ofcom to see if a commitment to a swifter and more seamless process could be delivered and reviewing the economic cost of delivering the space licensing regime and fees

  • government will continue work to deliver a regulatory environment that promotes enterprise and inward investment in the UK

This response acknowledges the challenges of a global market and the government will work with new entrants into the market to ensure that inward investment means the creation of jobs and returns for the UK economy.

  • in July 2014, the UK Space Agency will issue the first results from the work of a cross-government National Space Flight Coordination Group that was set up to take forward the ambition of developing a UK space port and starting commercial space flight from the UK

  • the UK Space Agency will double the funding level of the UK Space for Smarter Government Programme annually from April 2014

The programme will unlock the potential of space to make the delivery of public sector services more effective and efficient.

  • the Knowledge Transfer Network has established a dedicated space domain within its new structure, creating a bespoke knowledge transfer network community for space

Government response to the IGS space growth action plan

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National Space Security Policy

The National Space Security Policy sets out a coherent approach to the UK’s space security interests and outlines measures to make the United Kingdom more resilient to the risk of disruption to space services and capabilities, enhance our national security interests through space, promote a safe and more secure space environment and enable industry and academia to exploit science and grasp commercial opportunities.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne said: “This first space security policy document highlights the right challenges and brings together the right people, blending expertise from Whitehall, from industry, from academia to ensure the UK’s access to the space services we need. This policy is about galvanising our skills, our resources and our raw talent to promote resilience to the risks of operating in space – in both the civilian and military spheres.”

In implementing the National Space Security Policy, some of the early priorities will include mapping our dependency on space across government, critical infrastructure and key industrial sectors and assessing the extent of resilience in each of these fields.

There will also be collaboration across government and with national and international partners to share capability where it is possible to do so, particularly in the fields of tracking space debris and near Earth objects.

National space security policy

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Press Office

Julia Short
UK Space Agency
Polaris House
North Star Avenue

Swindon
Wiltshire
SN2 1SZ

Published 30 April 2014