…meanwhile over in merry old England a new space age dawns

by | Jan 20, 2010 | Seradata News | 0 comments

as we await the outcome of the space innovation and growth team (aka Space IGT) report that is to set out a 20-year vision for the UK spaceflight industry

To be published on 10 February Hyperbola hears it could contain a goal of creating 100,000 jobs by 2020. A hundred thousand I hear you cry!

Is this some super ambitious UK version of NASA’s Constellation programme? No, that is 100,000 jobs in both the upstream, i.e. satellite and ground segment manufacturers, and downsteam, i.e. space based service companies, sectors

Downstream space based service companies I hear you ask? Yes the UK space “industry” is a wide enough definition that service providers are included. And that is where most of those jobs will be created

If you weren’t able to make it, yesterday (19 January) saw the one-day (we only need one) A New Space Age for Britain: The Future of Britain’s Space Economy event held by Inside Government in central London. This is where Hyperbola heard about such dramatic developments as 100,000 job goals and moreThis blogger also heard that the draft Space IGT report given to the minister of state for science and innovation (and space) Lord Paul Drayson of Kensington (we like our parliamentary titles to be impressive) before year’s end has changed substantially since

Pour quoi? Well international reader it is not entirely clear at the moment but a member of the Space IGT team did tell this blog that the five year projection for the report’s vision had been easy while the ten to twenty year path was turning out to be somewhat more challenging – EADS Astrium meanwhile seems more confidence in its future with a 19 January announcement about plans for space based solar power

This blog is impressed even a five year projection has been accomplished what with a general election expected on 6 May and a change in government predicted, ousting the Labour party administration and returning the Conservative party to office after 13-years

And its an electoral situation made more ambiguous because at the moment the UK political parties seem to be competing to lose the election by admitting to the need for imminent deep cuts in government run services and worse still, hikes on beer and wine taxes – c’est ne pas possible!

Long time pro-space parliamentarian Ian Taylor (Member for Esher and Walton) spoke at the conference and confidently told the audience that a Conservative government would support a UK space agency. Who’d have thought a politician would tell an audience what they want to hear? But more interestingly he said that UK industry should expect this new government to “pump prime”, rather than fully fund I guess, “your space programme” as Taylor put it. Meaning if you can find a market for it, we’ll give you some cash for it

The Space IGT report will follow the British National Space Centre’s (BNSC) Space Exploration Review or as the BNSC’s civil servants like to call it, mini-Augustine (Oh how we chuckled). It had options like the Norman Augustine led Review of US human spaceflight plans and the fourth one was for a full blown UK astronauts and robot participation in an international exploration endeavour

Speaking at yesterday’s new space age conference the University of Leicester’s professor Ken Pounds said the BNSC’s option four would cost £1 billion ($1.6 billion) over ten years. If Taylor is right about his party’s possible future government policy UK industry better hope someone finds some Martians that want satellite telly…

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