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UK launches most ambitious review of space industry to date

Government and industry team to look at opportunities in, and barriers to, innovation and growth in the UK Space sector

The future challenges and opportunities for the UK Space industry will be assessed by a new expert group charged with producing a report for Government, Science Minister Lord Drayson announced today.

The Innovation Growth Team for Space will be chaired by Andy Green (CEO of Logica) and has been formed to create a 20 year strategy for British leadership in space. It will seek views from the entire space industry, and industries such as entertainment, navigation and climate change that rely on space technology. It will set out the challenges and opportunities that govern future value creation, competitiveness and growth in the space sector.

Our world relies on space technology for a wide range of services, from monitoring the effects of climate change and weather forecasting to telecoms services and satellite navigation. Space creates high value R&D, manufacturing and skills for the UK economy that the Government’s recent strategy on New Industry New Jobs outlined as the foundation for future UK success. New Industry New Jobs called for a more strategic approach to UK industrial policy in the future – focusing on those industries that will drive discovery and economic growth in this century.

The Space IGT’s work will contribute to that strategic approach, with industry and Government working together to shape the future success of the sector.

The Space IGT will draw on leadership experience from some of Britain’s top space companies. It will identify the future innovation, technology and investment priorities for the sector and other enablers of growth. The group will also seek to create a “space aware” culture in the UK with a space career path being defined for students wishing to enter the sector. In addition it will consider how to ensure that government policy is better aligned to meet the future needs of the industry.

Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson said, “Britain is a global leader in space. This initiative will help to keep us there”

Andy Green, CEO of Logica and Chairman of the Space Innovation and Growth Team added, “Space is one of the few sectors in the UK economy that is enjoying almost double digit growth and has the potential to do so for decades to come. We will set out ways to help the sector on its upwards trajectory, by ensuring that Britain has the necessary skills and policy framework, and a climate that fosters innovation.”

The Space IGT is expected to announce preliminary findings at the end of the year with the full report being published in early 2010.


* The Space IGT has a website and an email contact where comments and suggestions can be sent (
* Current membership of the IGT is: Avanti PLC; British Association of Remote Sensing Companies; British National Space Centre; Comdev; Cobham; Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; EADS Astrium; EEDA, EMDA, European Space Agency, e-skills UK; Imperial College of London; Inmarsat; Intellect; Logica PLC; Ministry of Defence; National Space Centre; NPL; Permira; QinetiQ; Reaction Engines; Rutherford Appleton Laboratories; SBAC; SciSys; SEA; SEEDA; Surrey Satellites Technology Limited; Technology Strategy Board; Thales; UKspace; VEGA; Virgin Galactic. Membership of the IGT is expected to grow as working structures become established.

Rocketeer comments: It’s very hard not to be cynical about yet another Whitehall review. I’ve had experience of the things in astronomy, and they uniformly seem to consist of civil servants asking the same questions over and over again (in different ways) until they get the answer they want (which inevitably is “cut funding for X”).

Still, I suppose there are some grounds for optimism here. We have a “Science Minister who “gets it, and UK NewSpace has a seat at the table in the form of Reaction Engines, SSTL and Virgin. I’ll put in my tuppence-worth, and wait and see…

(Source British National Space Centre)

[update] BBC coverage:

UK ‘space jewel’ set for polishBBC News