UK spaceport 'would fuel further growth for industry'
21 May 2012
Posted by John Bull
In order to fuel further growth in the UK space industry, a dedicated commercial launch location should be created.
This is the claim made in a new report by business leaders, which calls for the creation of a UK spaceport, arguing that Government policy should do more to ensure its continued expansion.
It is the first study to be released in a series entitled 'Infrastructure for Business' from the Institute of Directors (IoD) and proposes providing a facility from which commercial traffic can go into space.
The research examines the £8 billion space sector, which supports 85,000 UK direct and indirect jobs and has been boosted by a "private sector revolution" within the industry, more than doubling in size during the past decade.
According to predictions from the IoD, if a 15 per cent rate of expansion is maintained, employment in space-related roles will climb to 100,000 by 2020. Growth has been prompted by early adoption of satellite broadcasting in the UK and by skills already honed in the aerospace and defence industries.
At present, the Government provides just £313 million to the UK Space Agency, a tiny proportion of the combined global budget, and the IoD wants to see the level of support increase.
The body stated: "A spaceport would be a key piece of infrastructure for the UK’s space sector." It added such a project could be part-funded by the private sector.
Last month, the UK Government announced that it is allocating almost £6 million in funding through the National Space Technology Programme to new research in the field.
A total of four projects operated by consortia will receive financial assistance to develop commercial products and services that use data gathered from systems operating in space.
With more than £11.5 million in research and development funding held by the four initiatives and support from over 21 partner organizations involved, the schemes are intended to help further the goals outlined in the Space Innovation and Growth Strategy.
An agreement has also been signed between the Government and Motohisa Furukawa, Japan's Economy Minister, to further collaboration between the UK and the Asian nation regarding space research and technology.