The UK’s Space Race | IPT
Chair: David Morris MP, Chair, Space APPG
Speaker: Nick Shave, Vice President of Strategic Programmes, Inmarsat and Chair, UKSpace
Speaker: Dr Nigel Bannister, Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Astonomy, Leicester University
Dinner Discussion


Monday 06 December 2021


House of Commons

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End Time:


According to the UK space strategy, the UK space sector generates an income of £16bn annually and employs 45,000 people. Investment in the sector lags behind other nations with France and Italy spending between five and ten times more on their national space sectors. However, the Government has established a new National Space Council, acquired OneWeb and increased the UK’S Space Agency budget by 10% to £556m. There are almost 3,000 satellites in orbit around Earth with the number anticipated to grow rapidly as civil, military, and private operators increasingly use satellite constellations to enable continuous coverage. However, there is concern about growing space debris. As satellites have become smaller, cheaper, and easier to make there is greater potential in their use for functions such as climate monitoring, disaster management and digital connectivity. Meanwhile the Prime Minister has promised to create a “galactic Britain” and lead on Earth Observation, navigation applications and services and satellite broadband. With satellites in space supporting around £300bn of economy activity in the UK each year, how can we ensure the UK becomes a Tier 2 space nation? 

This dinner discussion will: 

  • Examine how to make space sustainable and tackle rising space debris. 
  • Consider how to maximise the benefits of rapidly growing interest and private investment in space. 
  • Discuss the UK’s potential as a satellite launch centre, including in Cornwall and Unst.
  • Explore how to support the skills required to enhance the UK space sector.