UK Space Policy

December 6, 2006 
RAS informs Parliamentary Committee of its concern with the poor level of coordination and effectiveness of the current policy. In its submission to the review of Space Policy by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, the Society made the following points:
* The UK benefits from a strong involvement in high-quality space missions provided these are properly tensioned against ground based facilities and are chosen on scientific grounds.
* Research Councils must provide the appropriate balance in their programmes between the implementation of space missions and the underlying science, such as theory, through which the investment in the missions can be fully exploited and between the subscription in the Space Science Programme in ESA and the national exploitation through the contribution of instrumentation.
* These missions need not be delivered solely through ESA although our membership of ESA is extremely important.
* The UK needs to have a strong voice in ESA, CoSPAR and at the UN in matters concerning space.
* The UK voice on space will be heard best within the UK if academia and industry are well coordinated. This is not the case at present.
* The training and development of space scientists and engineers often takes place in universities with space science or astronomy research programmes and this training should be fostered at the BNSC level.
* Better alignment between the industrial aspirations and the scientific objectives must be sought. Other countries, notably France, excel at this and thereby benefit much more from ESA than we do.
* To achieve this coordination, BNSC should be advised by an independent UK Space Council.
* The current format of BNSC is not serving the needs of the country nor the space community.
* More (good) publicity for our space science, astronomy, earth-observation and planetary science research would be welcome. The public are deeply interested in space and it is a major attractor for young people into the physical sciences.
(Source RAS / Written by David Elliott)
Author: EARSC

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