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Big ESA win – Bringing business to UK is now crucial

Wednesday was a key milestone in the UK Space enterprise – securing a spending uplift, training the Nations’ gaze onto our programmes, and ‘landing’ 3 future astronauts – this is a big win for the UK.

George Freeman played a blinder in Paris at the European Space Agency Ministerial this week. Spending rising to €17B, 3 of 22 new astronauts from the UK and a range of interests came to the fore on the floor where we can lead. These are weighty outcomes, a great settlement, and a major success for UK Space Agency. Our track record of driving this cash back into British business is not great, so the tough work starts now. We must press hard for genuine competition across Europe, redirect launch investment into the UK, secure greater commercial scrutiny from ESA acquisitions, enable emerging British businesses to compete with the primes, and secure UK interests at every point. It’s great if everyone can win in negotiations, but with finite capital, we must get what we put in and preferably more. Our goal must be to set annual inward investment targets above our contribution, develop a plan to get there, track progress closely, drive public-private ventures aggressively, champion the many successes British space businesses deserve, and focus now on CM25 outcomes; it’s not that far away. It’s a big week and win for the UK, but there is now much to do!

We must aim high and shoot higher at securing work for the UK and turn success at the table into supremacy in orbit. We are better together, but competing and winning must be deep in our DNA.

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