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credit SSTL / caption UK minister of science Lord Drayson pictured in background, arms folded at SSTL

Hyperbola spoke to the UK minister for science Lord Drayson on Friday 6 February about robotic exploration, the UK space strategy and the possibility of a UK space agency and participation in the ESA astronaut corps during his visit to small satellite specialist Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL)Flightglobal.com and Hyperbola have been following the latest UK space strategy’s development because of the lobbying for a new “agenda of ambition” made by the scientific community that suggested that this time could be different and see real change

It has been a couple of years of twists and turns of appearing and disappearing technology programmes, reports in favour of astronauts and a possible readiness to consider the funding of launchers alongside NASA, UK agreements about robotics missons worth hundreds of millions of dollars

It has even seen the the ball start to roll for a UK astronaut and Hyperbola has pondered whether vikings will reach orbit before the Brits, publicised new opportunities to lobby the government at the last minute about it and considered if the whole thing is just rhetoric with nothing more than a credit crunched budget behind it

Planned to begin in 2007 the new UK space strategy was delayed by the governemnt’s own spending review and was finally published in February 2008. Only then did it become clear that not all the answers were in it. Meanwhile industry demanded a recognition of the importance of space

So with all that background I jumped at the chance of speaking to the new space minister, having met the last two during the last three years. And there is certainly a lot of potential for change in what Lord Drayson had to say 

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