Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum 107

Supplementary evidence from the British National Space Centre (BNSC)


1.  What will the UK subscriptions be to ARTES 1, ARTES 3, ARTES 4 and ARTES 8 respectively in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010?

  ESA forward plans forecast the following cash amounts being called up by the Agency to cover existing UK contributions on ARTES.

(Figures in €M)


  *  A further €45 million from RDAs has been subscribed to ARTES 8 (sub-element 2) to cover Alphasat funding. It is not yet clear how, and in which years these funds will be called up by ESA.

2.  In oral evidence David Williams mentioned a BNSC communications programme (Q109). What are the key features of this communications programme?

  The current BNSC Communications Strategy is enclosed. It is intended to raise awareness of the benefits of UK space activity and UK expertise in the area. It seeks to do this by undertaking key communications and outreach activity and by effective co-ordination of the space related communications activity of individual BNSC Partners.

3.  How has BNSC tracked its performance against the performance indicators provided in the UK Space Strategy 2003-06?

  A mid term review of the current Strategy was carried out some two years ago. This recognised that the strategy followed best practice in terms of the level of stakeholder consultation and structure in terms of the vision, objectives and actions. The user driven approach was seen as appropriate. It highlighted evidence of UK achieving one of the best "returns" (in Europe) on public investments in space. It also identified a few "gaps" in the current practice at the time. It recommended further effort in linking BNSC strategy with those of BNSC Partners, more involvement in tackling developments in EU, and action on ensuring key UK technological capabilities. BNSC responded to these: the reorganisation of the BNSC steering/advisory group structure with the UK Space Board, Space Advisory Council and the BNSC Operations Board is proving effective on the first issue. BNSC has also dedicated greater resources (including at Director level) to co-ordinating our inputs on European space policy matters. The proposed National Space Technology Programme is intended to address common underpinning space technology needs. BNSC has also, in partnership with industry, undertaken market and economic studies which have provided estimates of the economic benefits from UK space activities.

4.  Who sits on the BNSC Earth Observation Programme Board and how often does it meet?

  The BNSC Earth Observation Programme Board (EOPB) is convened four times per year. Provisional dates are set at the start of each year to facilitate forward planning by members and maximise attendance.


  Zof Stott (Assimila Ltd)

  David Matthews(EADS Astrium Ltd and Chair of UKspace EO sub-group)
  Peter Truss(QinetiQ)
  Barry Wyatt(Independent Consultant, ex-NERC CEH)
  Jim Aiken(Plymouth Marine Laboratory)
  Nick Veck(Infoterra-Global)
  Graham Deane(Infoterra Ltd and Chairman of BARSC)
  Ian Downey(SciSys)
BNSC Partners attending

  Defra, DTI, NERC, MOD, RAL, Met Office

  Ofcom are invited as observers when radio-spectrum issues are on the agenda.

  5.  The BNSC provided a note on international activities following the evidence session on 10 January 2007. We would be grateful to know if the following activities have taken place as planned:

    (a)  March 2007 UK-China Space Science and Technology Working Group meet in Shanghai

    Yes;  a 17 strong UK delegation attended, composed of members from academia, industry and BNSC partnership

    (b)  March 2007 BNSC attend conference in New Delhi hosted by ISRO

    The Space Security Conference has been postponed to mid-November by the organisers. Also a bi-lateral with BNSC / ISRO is being organised in Hyderabad during the International Astronautical Congress 2007 in September.

    (c)  May 2007 Space technology workshop with Japan

    This event is being organised by the British Embassy in Tokyo as part of a wider promotion of the UK Aerospace industrial and academic capabilities and runs from 30 May to 1 June.

6.  We have been told that there was not a representative from BNSC at the COSPAR meeting in Beijing in July 2006. Why was a representative not present?

  BNSC Partnership was represented at the Beijing Symposium by Prof Richard Crowther from BNSC Partner, Science and Technology Facilities Council. Our attendance was low because it coincided with the Farnborough Airshow. Richard is well known in the field and co-chaired the COSPAR Panel which addresses Environmentally Detrimental Activities in Space.

  7.  We would be grateful if you could complete the following table regarding expenditure by BNSC partners on optional ESA programmes in 2006-2007. If an alternative mode of presentation is more suitable please do not hesitate to contact us.

  Notes:  Figures in the table are those for ESA FY 2006 (1 Jan—31 Dec). ESA budgets for any one year may vary from the overall UK contribution to a programme. We therefore include an additional column setting out the UK % share of the overall financial envelope of each of the programmes listed.

  Additional Question:  How much has the Technology Programme spent on space-based r&d since October 2004?

  There have been no projects with space as the primary exploitation route in the Technology Calls managed by the DTI Technology Programme since October 2004. Space technology R&D is represented in the Pinpoint Faraday and, in both, the Sensors and the "Location and Timing" KTNs (Knowledge Transfer Networks). The value to the space industry from these three programmes is estimated to be £0.5 million between October 2004 and April 2007.

May 2007

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Prepared 17 July 2007