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Satellites and Space Exports

Volume 718: debated on Tuesday 12 July 2022

9. What recent progress his Department has made on increasing the number of (a) satellite launches and (b) space-related exports. [R] (901025)

I will, Mr Speaker.

We have funded a range of industry projects to establish vertical launch services from Scotland and support horizontal launch from Cornwall, with the UK’s first launch on track for later this year. We are supporting the growth of UK space exports through targeted campaigns matching UK companies with new large customers globally; through our new Export Academy, which upskills first-time exporters; and through establishing new and innovative international partnerships.

I congratulate the Minister on her appointment, and on taking this question on an exciting growth sector for UK tech. Although our satellite capabilities are well known, the ability to launch satellites is something new indeed. There is considerable demand for satellites from countries in south-east Asia that wish to take advantage of the ability to map and plan their agriculture better and to research and better protect against severe weather issues, as well as getting valuable marine and fishing information. Can my hon. Friend confirm how we will know how much capacity is available for our partners in south-east Asia and elsewhere abroad? When will it be available?

It is indeed an exciting opportunity. Delivering our planned launches from Cornwall and Scotland will allow the UK to establish itself as a leader in the growing global launch market. It will ensure that the UK is attractive to companies around the world that seek to launch satellites that meet our regulatory standards. UK Space Agency-led international partnership programmes in 2018 explored how UK satellite technology could be used in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam; I am pleased to say that a number of opportunities were identified.