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Space Systems

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 13 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills for what reasons single source procurement of space systems is used; and what the evidential basis is for this providing best value. (163480)

The UK Government have not independently procured any space systems for many years and have no current plans to do so. Departments like the MOD procure space enabled services on a regular basis, and this can involve the purchase of hardware, especially in the ground segment (e.g. MilSatCom handsets). In all cases, standard Government procurement policies are followed to ensure value for money.

The UK is a member of the European Space Agency (ESA) which does procure space systems. ESA procurements are undertaken within a geo-return framework, but are subject to affordability within the overall programme subscription and VFM through competition at both prime and sub-prime (sub-system) levels (and sometimes also below this). BNSC provides two delegates to the ESA Industrial Policy Committee which scrutinises and authorises all major procurements.