The Queen’s Speech on the 21st June 2017, confirmed the Government’s commitment to realising the full potential of the commercial space sector to the economy by including the Space Industry Bill in its legislative programme for the next two years.
The Bill promises to ‘create new powers to licence a range of new commercial spaceflight’ and the ‘regulatory framework to manage risk, ensuring that spaceflight in the UK remains safe'.
Commenting on the Queen’s Speech, specifically the Space Industry Bill, Simon Whalley, Head of External Affairs, at the Royal Aeronautical Society, said: “By creating the legal and regulatory framework necessary to enable the launch of small satellites and sub-orbital flights from UK soil, the Government can help the burgeoning space sector take full advantage of the growing global space market, contributing to economic growth and job creation.
“A UK spaceport offering satellite launch capability can strengthen the UK position in small satellite manufacture and offer greater launch flexibility to customers. The capability to provide sub-orbital flights would not only attract part of the growing space tourism market, but also sustain leading edge scientific research, development and innovation.
“Above all, the legislation must enable safe and cost effective access to space that will be flexible enough to accommodate entrepreneurial launch operations from the UK and around the world.
“One of the reasons the UK space sector has been so successful until now is that the industry has been eligible for and able to win major contracts in large EU space programmes, in which successive Governments have invested significant amounts, such as Galileo and Copernicus.
“With Brexit negotiations underway, in addition to progressing this Bill the Government should already be bolstering the UK position in the non-EU, intergovernmental European Space Agency (ESA) to maintain influence on the implementation of EU space programmes and procurement of space satellites systems, but also planning to preserve permission through new bilateral arrangements, if necessary, for the UK space sector to bid for future work that it is perfectly placed to deliver.”