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Space News: Britain urged to improve game to compete with UKSpace Will Whitehorn United Kingdom | New UK News

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Currently, the global space economy is worth $ 350 billion (£ 248 billion), with Morgan Stanley predicting it could triple by 2040. It is hoped that Britain’s first spaceport, Cornwall, could launch its first satellite in 2022.

Speaking to, Will Whitehorn, chairman of industry body UKspace, said government support could help make Britain’s space sector “one of the most successful in the world”.

He said: “Unlike France and Italy in Europe, which spend much more money on their space industries, most of what we do is the result of private sector investments with a little government help from time to time.

“I think we have to improve our game. The reason we have to improve our game is that there is an increase in spending across the board.

“You could go to Dubai, they just launched a satellite, you could go to Japan which has tripled its investment in space. You can go to the United States and see that NASA was the procurement agency that forged a new private space industry.


“I think we need to improve our game” (Image: GETTY)


Spaceport Cornwall is based at Newquay Airport (Image: GETTY)

“NASA was really partly responsible for the success of SpaceX today, being one of the early buyers of SpaceX contracts. The same is true to some extent for Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit.

“We’re just not doing this on this scale in the UK and I think we’re going to have to do it a bit because we have the makings of what could be one of the most successful industries in the world.”

According to Mr. Whitehorn, 1,500 UK-based companies are involved in the space industry and employ 50,000 people.

Both of these figures are expected to increase rapidly in the coming years.

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“Space is one of those areas that depends on some help” (Image: GETTY)

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit hoping to perform “horizontal” launches from Spaceport Cornwall, which will see a Boeing 747 fly over the sea before launching a rocket into space.

These will be used to transport small satellites, the demand for which is expected to increase over the next decade.

Plans are also underway for vertical rocket launches, from the Shetland Space Center in Scotland.

Mr Whitehorn said state investment will be needed to ensure the UK space industry is a world leader.

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A Virgin Orbit 747 with a rocket under the wing (Image: GETTY)

The former director of Virgin Galactic said: “Space is one of those areas that depends on some help, especially as it is on the cusp of becoming an industrial take-off market where it is going. there are huge investments around the world.

“It requires the UK state to get involved more than the UK state has traditionally done.

“I’m really happy with the way things can go.

“We have the opportunity to be at the center of the new space industry, new smaller products.

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“Products for example like Virgin Orbit which is ideally designed to come to various places around the world for sovereign launches.”

In July 2020, the UK government spent £ 400million to buy a stake in satellite company OneWeb, which hopes to provide high-speed internet worldwide through a network of satellites.

This makes it a major rival to Starlink, a similar SpaceX plan from Elon Musk.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the deal would provide “the UK’s first sovereign space capability”.

Mr. Whitehorn endorsed the decision, saying, “It was a courageous decision for this government to make.

“The government made the right decision to invest in OneWeb, to take the next step.


Virgin Orbit plans to operate from Spaceport Cornwall (Image: GETTY)

“It can provide a product and a range of products to build on. Give Britain low orbit satellite capacity the nation can share. “

However, Mr. Whitehorn warned that space would likely become an “active” theater in future wars.

As such, he argued that Britain must be able to launch its own rockets into space.

Space features prominently in the UK’s Integrated Review, a report released by the government earlier this year that focuses on national defense.

Mr. Whitehorn argued, “The smart thing to do is to be able to outsmart your opposition in satellite numbers rather than trying to shoot things down.

“It will be a battle of brains and artificial intelligence in space.

“And that’s where the ability to launch satellites and have that sovereign ability really makes sense and that’s what I would recommend to the government.”

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This notice was published: 2021-06-16 23:48:12

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