20 MAR 2019

Question on space industry in BEIS questions

John Howell (Henley) (Con)

24. What steps he is taking to support the UK space industry. [909888]

The Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation (Chris Skidmore)

In the past month we have invested £18 million in the OneWeb satellite constellation to deliver global 5G communications, which I announced at the European Space Agency in the Netherlands. Last week we announced £7 million for the SMILE—Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer—mission. ​ In addition, we announced £25 million for the PLATO—planetary transits and oscillations of stars—observatory mission, and last week we signed the Square Kilometre Array treaty, which will see £180 million invested in the world's largest telescope.

John Howell

Can the Minister confirm that it remains his intention to help the UK space industry by developing an alternative to the European Union's Galileo system?

Chris Skidmore

The Government have committed £92 million to developing options for a domestic alternative to Galileo. The UK Space Agency is leading work with the full support of the Ministry of Defence. Contracts are being let with UK companies. Around 50 have made expressions of interest in the process, which will help to keep important skills and expertise in satellite navigation.

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