Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Annex A


  Past investments by DTI through BNSC in space research and technology have created a highly skilled workforce based on world-class science and leading edge technology. These successes have been translated into innovation of engineering products and operational business models producing a series of world leadership roles for UK.

  2.  A range of success stories include:

    —  Inmarsat, the London based satellite operator that leads the world in maritime communications.

    —  Paradigm, the world leader in commercial defence satellite communications services.

    —  SSTL, the world leader in manufacture of small satellites.

    —  Avanti, the European leader in satellite delivered broadband services.

    —  EADS Astrium, the world leader in innovative onboard processing technology.

  3.  Joint investment by industry and UK government in programmes such as the Advanced Research into Telecommunications (ARTES) programme managed by ESA where investment is on a co-funded 50/50 basis between public and private sectors has provided a platform for a number of these successes.

  4.  For example a £20 million ARTES investment in electronic beam antenna technology enabled Paradigm Secure Communications Limited to establish a key differentiator against US competition to win the £2.5 billion contract for procurement for Skynet 5. This contract will last for 15 years and create 1,900 new jobs. Furthermore Paradigm is seen as a leading example of the PFI model in the satellite communications and military communications field and thus offers significant scope for export.

  5.  ARTES investments in processing technology enabled EADS Astrium to offer a competitive advantage to Inmarsat during the procurement for the Inmarsat-4. This is one of the most complex satellites ever built and offers Inmarsat significantly greater flexibility and revenue earning potential.

  6.  DTI supported work on Ferrite switches totalling £528K enabled ComDev to win contracts worth £6 million as a direct from this work, with a potential to win further business valued at £1 million pa.

  7.  Through the "Highly Adaptable Satellite" (HYLAS) being developed by Avanti, the UK is pioneering the delivery of advanced broadband services in Europe within an entrepreneurial venture. HYLAS demonstrates the linkage between upstream technology development and growth in the downstream sector by attracting substantial City of London equity finance, establishing a UK Fixed Satellite Services (FSS) operator with high growth potential whilst demonstrating flexible payload technologies.

  8.  DTI funding via the MOSAIC (Small Satellite) programme was pivotal in helping transform micro satellites from an "idea" to a serious commercial product whilst establishing Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) as a world leader. DTI funding led to the development of three new families of satellites: Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) for Earth Observation and disaster management), TopSat (Earth observation & surveillance) and Gemini (telecoms). SSTL now has an annual turnover of £25.2 million.

  9.  In December 2005 ESA launched the first Galileo satellite GIOVE-A, constructed by a consortium led by SSTL to an extremely challenging timescale. Its role is to test and prove a number of technologies developed by ESA for Galileo, to provide a Galileo signal in space to be used for signal performance experiments to measure the signal at the earth and to secure the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) frequency filings for the Galileo programme. These filings are critical as they serve as the "right to transmit" for the Galileo radio signals from space.

  10.  The QinetiQ T6 High Power Electric Propulsion (T6 HP-EP) system is being developed to meet the needs of future large-scale telecommunications satellites such as Alphasat. It has a wide operating range; its flow rates, magnetic field and anode current can be varied to ensure optimised thrust performance. This provides a system with a capability to compensate for anomalous in-flight performance of interfacing systems.

  11.  DTI established the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) in 1980, which developed into Infoterra Ltd in 2001, and is currently a 100% owned subsidiary of EADS Astrium, with a turnover of £16 million in 2004. It has become a leading international provider of geo-information products and services for managing the development, environment and security of our changing world.

  12.  Provision of geographic information is vital to improving asset management, business processes and environmental analysis. Many decisions need location information from flood risk analysis and network planning to humanitarian aid and defence.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2007
Prepared 17 July 2007