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Will a new British space policy arise ?

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Tue Nov 15, 2005 12:50 pm
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by Taylor Dinerman; In no other major European nation is the national space policy as utterly subservient to the European Space Agency (ESA) as in Great Britain. According to one source, about 60% of Britain’s pitifully small (less than $350 million) space budget goes to ESA and most of the rest is invested through Europe’s meteorological satellite organization, Eumetsat. When it comes to putting the interests of Europe above the interests of one’s own country, Britain should be held up as the least egotistical of all major European nations, at least as far as its space industry goes. This, in spite of the Blair government’s aim to “…make choices to maximize the benefits to the UK.”

As of 2003 the official goals of British space policy involve:

  • Enhancing the UK’s standing in astronomy, planetary, and environmental sciences;
  • Stimulating increased productivity by promoting the use of space in government science and commerce;
  • Developing innovative space technologies and systems, to deliver sustainable improvements in the quality of life.
  • These goals seem more designed to be easy to fulfill. It would not take much imagination or effort to show that satellite navigation or satellite communications have improved life in the British Isles, whether or not this had anything to do with the government’s space policy or not. It is equally easy for the government to claim credit for the achievements of Britain’s scientists and to blame the few who, like Colin Pillinger’s Beagle Mars lander team, failed.

    Read more at The Space Review.

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