Nov 14, 2013

Planning group calls for National Space Policy in Britain

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LONDON, Nov. 14 (UPI) — Britain needs a national space program, sufficiently funded and properly coordinated, a report by a government/industry planning group says.

The Space Innovation & Growth Team, after a review of an industry that has been growing an average of more than 7 percent a year, has set a goal of increasing technology exports from $3.2 billion a year to $40 billion by 2030, the BBC reported Thursday.

If the goal is to be achieved, the report says, government support of the country’s space industry must be better coordinated.

bq “I don’t want this to be a criticism of government because they have done some incredible things for space of late, but we have been doing these things piece by piece,” Andy Green of the U.K. Space Leadership Council said.

“It’s time now that we take a long-term view on our technologies and the bilaterals we have with other space nations, and make available a pool of funding over, say, the next five years that has some certainty,” he said.

“That will give us best value for money; the most bang for our buck,” Green told the BBC.

Most of Britain’s $480 million civil space budget is spent on programs managed through the European Space Agency, with comparatively small amounts given to all-British initiatives.

Other European countries — notably Germany, France and Italy — have robust national programs in addition to their ESA participation.

The British government needs to create a National Space Policy, the strategy group’s report said.

“Many elements of this program already exist and therefore its creation does not necessarily require a large increase in government spending,” the report said. “It does however call for a strategic approach driven by the National Space Policy and a multiyear commitment.”