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Space Research

Volume 654: debated on Tuesday 27 February 1962

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science if he will state the number of scientific staff engaged in space research in this country in 1960 and 1961, and the numbers at the latest convenient date.

The following figures relate to the programme of scientific space research for which my noble friend is responsible. Staff with university degrees or equivalent professional qualifications employed at universities and supported by grants made under the space research programme numbered 17 in the early part of 1960, 27 in January, 1961, and 25 in January, 1962. These were in all cases supervised, and in many cases assisted, by staff supported from university funds, but the numbers involved are not readily available. Similarly qualified staff in Government Departments engaged on similar experiments or supporting work, on other experiments to be conducted in rockets or satellites, or on the observation and tracking of satellites numbered, on the same dates, 20, 32 and 40. Some equipment for these experiments has been produced in industry, but information is not available as to the number of scientifically qualified staff concerned.

I am grateful to the Parliamentary Secretary for such a long reply. Is he quite satisfied that the Government are taking sufficient interest in space research? Is he sure that if this country joined the Common Market it would be able to make a useful contribution to the E.S.R.O. in the Common Market area?

I am perfectly certain that if this country signs the E.S.R.O. Convention, which I hope it will be possible for us to do, we shall make a worthy contribution to that organisation, which would be completely independent of whether or not we joined the Common Market.