Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum 103

Supplementary memorandum from the British Interplanetary Society



  It is considered important for the UK to establish a modest human spaceflight presence, in line with the rest of the industrialised world. There are strong scientific, education outreach, industrial and inspiration reasons for this (see associated British Interplanetary Society evidence to the Select Committee.) In order to become properly engaged in the US and ESA manned plans for a return to the Moon (by 2020) and the future exploration of the solar system, a low-cost manned science-education project with UK access to the International Space Station (ISS) should be commenced in the next two years.


  An affordable and meaningful ISS access project can be undertaken for approximately £50 million over five years (see costings below) at £10 million per year. This only represents a 5% increase in the current UK civil space budget. The purposes of the project are to establish an embryonic scientist-astronaut corps, engage with the future manned space projects of international partners and establish expertise and experience in manned space activities. Substantial education benefits will occur and microgravity science results will be significant and part of the future European programme for life and physical sciences and applications utilising the International Space Station (ELIPS).

  Three UK scientist-astronauts will be selected, commencing 2008 for a five-year project, with two to fly two separate 10 day commercial Soyuz flights to the ISS, with eight day experiment time on-board using Russian and ESA/NASA facilities by agreement. Extensive education outreach work involving schools and colleges would continue through the programme; a Stage 2 project could be envisaged for the future to provide follow-on experimental work for PhD and long term science course involvement. Private industry input may contribute, if appropriate; experiment manufacture will be undertaken by UK firms.


Soyuz flights—2 @ £10.7 million ($21 million) each
£21.4 million

Experiment programmes: 40 @ £0.15 million
£6 million
Launch 200 kg experiments @ $20,000/kg
£2 million
ISS services (beyond commercial flight costs if needed)—approximately $10 million
£6 million
Organisation/admin/PR—overheads and salaries (10%)
£4 million
Inflation (2%/year over five years = 10%)
£4 million
Margin (10%)
£4 million
£47.4 million


  The above figures assume agreement will be reached with Roscosmos on standard (current February 2007) commercial Soyuz seat prices and launch rates. Access to Russian ISS facilities is included in the flight cost—extra agreement with ESA/NASA/JAXA may be required for further lab access, if needed (the ISS services portion above). No costing has been included for Stage 2 outreach work (ie beyond the five year project period). No ELIPS membership cost has been included.

March 2007

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