Space manifesto proposes economic take-off

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Plans to help the next government launch Britain's economy on a multi-billion pound journey into space were set out by industry chiefs today.

The "space manifesto" published by ADS, the aerospace, defence and security trade organisation, comes a month after the inauguration of the UK Space Agency, Britain's mini-version of Nasa.

It sets out policies that offer the chance of turning Britain's £6 billion space sector into a heavyweight industry earning £40 billion a year by 2030.

The goal of increasing Britain's share of the global space industry market from 6% to 10% would be largely industry-driven but dependent on strong government support, says ADS.

Key elements of the "manifesto" include providing adequate resources and powers for the UK Space Agency, a government-led National Space Technology Strategy, and the promotion of Stem (science, technology, engineering, maths) in schools.

A future government was also urged to establish Britain's own earth observation capability, develop information and communication space technologies, and use space to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

ADS chairman Ian Godden said: "We are entering a fertile period for our space industry. Space makes the economy global, delivering benefits to the UK as a worldwide trading nation.

"UK space companies have built up leading capabilities in key export markets, including broadband, monitoring deforestation and geo-data.

"It's no exaggeration to say that without a space infrastructure much of our global economy would cease to operate.. space is an essential engine of the economy and as the world becomes ever more globalised, our dependence on its infrastructure will continue to increase."

The ADS report, entitled "Space for Growth" highlights the fact that the global space market will have grown in value from £160 billion in 2008 to an estimated £400 billion by 2030.

In 2007, space generated £5.9 billion of revenue for the UK, and today Britain's space industry supported 70,000 jobs.

British satellite manufacturing was already worth £800 million a year.