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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 101

Date:- 31 May 2003

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In Association with UK SEDS. 

Report with thanks to ESA.

THE European Space Agency has agreed the national funding contributions for its share of the development and validation phase of the Galileo programme.

The UK Government will contribute 95.7 million Euros, which is the same contribution as France, Germany and Italy. The investment could create up to 1000 new jobs in the UK. 

Galileo is the European programme to develop and operate its own civil satellite system for navigation, positioning and timing applications, offering long-term improvements to traffic management systems for all forms of transport and in commercial, industrial and other strategic areas. 

Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Patricia Hewitt has welcomed the agreement, “The Government’s investment in Galileo will maintain UK influence and industrial involvement in this satellite programme and the wider exploitation of space technologies for the benefit of users and the public. This investment allows the UK industry to build on its leading edge expertise in space technology and development, and to prepare it for later use in existing and innovative applications of satellite navigation technology.

The Government’s investment has secured the same share as France, Germany and Italy, and is likely to create around 1000 new high technology jobs in the UK. As well as benefiting the UK’s satellite manufacturing companies, many of the jobs and investment opportunities created will be in the smaller supply companies, and leading edge research and development facilities.
However, our longer term objective is to place the UK at the forefront of the wider economic and consumer benefits that will come from establishing innovative new applications and services using Galileo and other global navigation systems.” 

The Government will also be working with the Galileo Joint Undertaking, other EU Member States and the private sector to ensure that the deployment and operational phases of Galileo are funded by a Public Private Partnership, in order to achieve value for money for the public sector. 
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The Future of the European SPACE INDUSTRY

KEY decision-makers responsible for shaping Europe’s future in space gathered in London on the 20th May, to discuss how to enhance Europe’s leading position in developing space technology. Philippe Busquin, European Research Commissioner, Lord Sainsbury, UK Minister for Science and Innovation, and Antonio Rodota, Director-General of the European Space Agency, addressed over 350 representatives from government, industry and research. This meeting was part of a series of consultation events on European space policy, following the publication of the EU Green Paper on Space. The consultation will be closed by a major conference in Paris on 23-24 June, paving the way for a White Paper and detailed Action Plan to be presented by the end of 2003. Today’s conference specifically focused on how space R&D can lead to concrete applications and commercial products in a wide range of areas, such as telecommunications, navigation and localisation, and earth observation.

The description of the event is perhaps a little misleading. The key word is address, rather than discuss – the event consisted of a number of presentations, with the decision-makers doing all the talking. The majority of representatives did not speak aloud even a single time, and those who did generally only voiced one opinion or question. This is not to say the delegates’ opinions were ignored, as we were invited to make known our opinions to the panel via one means or another, and the process is by no means a one day event! Nevertheless, some interesting questions were indeed raised, and some gleaned some very interesting, and at times amusing, answers.

When asked “Are we doing enough to demonstrate value for money to get the private sector to invest in and use space, not just sponsor it?” the response of the panel was a curious, "yes", and backed up his statement with the Arianne launch programme – which has yielded a return of 4 times the initial investment. 

Why is that interesting? Well for most of Europe, it isn’t. But in our infinite wisdom, we in the UK do not participate in the Arianne programme, as our government’s policy since the 60’s has been not to fund any launcher development, or anything related to manned spaceflight – the reason there are no 100% British astronauts. 

Lord Sainsbury said:- “Working with out European partners is critical to the success of the UK’s space ambitions. This is clearly demonstrated by the outstanding achievements Europe has made collectively in the last decade, particularly in satellite technologies.”

MEP Eryl McNally also called for the UK government to rethink the options in schools, claiming science should be compulsory, emphasising it’s importance in modern society. Perhaps if we had a British astronaut, our children would be more inspired by space and engineering, rather than thinking of space as “something America does”


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