Spaceflight

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 23 July 2021.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they consider that space travel should be limited to scientific research, rather than space tourism.

Photo of Baroness Vere of Norbiton Baroness Vere of Norbiton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

We are on the threshold of the new commercial space age, and this is a pivotal moment for the UK’s spaceflight ambitions.

The UK Government has put in place the legislation needed for operators to open spaceports which allows for a range of commercial spaceflight activities, including suborbital space-tourism. However, it will be up to the operators of the spaceports what services they seek to run from them. The immediate focus for the UK Government is enabling launch and supporting the small satellite launch market. These small satellites can support improvements to public services for all.

Growing our launch capability will help create new jobs and bring economic benefits to communities and organisations right across the UK, as well as inspiring the next generation of space scientists and engineers.

Access to space is also essential for improving understanding of climate change and our efforts to tackle it. Satellite measurements of Earth’s temperature, greenhouse gas emissions, atmospheric gases, sea levels, ice cover and other properties give the science community valuable data that can help us analyse and predict the impacts of climate change to enable effective strategies and decisions to be made. UK launch capability will enable the expansion and enhancement of earth observation and the gathering of environmental data, enabling a real and meaningful contribution to tackling climate change.

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