Submission from Space Enterprise Partnerships
My company offers consultancy in the creation
of successful partnerships to develop innovative space based capabilities.
It is based on the premise that it is now very difficult for a
single company, particularly the smaller specialist businesses,
to maintain all the leading edge capabilities to succeed in the
very competitive space environment. Independent advice to identify
potential partners who have both the technical ability and access
to the necessary investment is therefore increasingly necessary.
A particular feature is the increasing need for international
Until recently I was the Director of Business
Development for Space Science, Exploration and Propulsion at QinetiQ.
During my time with the company I created and managed a small
satellite project, set up the first major electric propulsion
projects and helped bring some of QinetiQ's advanced defence technologies
into the space arena. The successful programmes were based on
exploitation of key QinetiQ capabilities matched to those of a
range of international partners. The electric propulsion programmes
demonstrated that Britain still has the potential to lead the
world in creating innovative new business from technical excellence.
During the past two years I have also been chairman
of the UKSpace Science and Exploration Sub-committee.
In written evidence I am most keen to register
support for the submission to your enquiry by UKSpace. This clearly
identifies the many benefits that Britain's space activities bring
and the vital, if too often understated, role that space now plays
in our daily lives. In the wider, global space community there
is universal acceptance that space is both a symbol and a quantifiable
measure of the technical and scientific standing of a nation.
Not only are the established "space-faring" nations
looking to new initiatives to extend their space-based capabilities;
many new nations are now actively seeking their own capabilities
for both strategic and economic reasons. Your enquiry is therefore
May I therefore offer two supporting items of
evidence to the UKSpace submission:
Space science and exploration
Although the immediate economic benefits may
often be intangible the sense of achievement from today's exceptionally
challenging space science and exploration projects is an essential
ingredient in the motivation of the science and technology community.
I know of few other walks of life where people work for much longer
than their nominally paid hours for the satisfaction of achieving
the apparently impossible. Yet this is the commitment and determination
which is needed to maintain a technical lead in a competitive
world. I would suggest that if Britain is to remain economically
competitive this entrepreneurial culture must be encouraged through
continuing investment in both the national and ESA science and
technology programmes which have brought so much past success.
In this respect the creation of a Large Facilities Council (LFC)
offers a valuable opportunity provided that it is firmly founded
on sound commercial practice aimed at facilitating the entrepreneurial
Space Electric Propulsion
This is a good example of Britain's ability
to develop world class technology in the face of the most fierce
international competition if properly supported. The US is a decade
ahead of Europe in the adoption of this advanced space propulsion
for commercial and defence missions. This follows significant
institutional investment in science and defence programmes and
more recently commercial investment for a recognised emerging
market. By comparison development in the UK has been achieved
through more modest but sustained MOD and BNSC. Consequently Britain
will provide the most technically advanced space electric propulsion
system in the world for the ESA Gravity Field and Steady State
Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) mission to be launched in 2007.
The same research and development has also produced the most efficient
high power electric propulsion systems so far for future large
commercial spacecraft. As ambitions grow to explore our solar
system and provide increasingly more capable space-based commercial
services the performance and economic benefits of space electric
propulsion will be realised in the same way that the motor car
replaced the horse and trap a century ago. As a direct result
of the past government support Britain now has real commercial
prospects in this evolving market.
I would be happy to offer oral evidence in support
of space electric propulsion as an example of the benefits of
long-term government support for leading edge technology development.