UK Space Agency a success, say MPs

Milky way The financial frontier: The UK space industry could be worth £40bn by 2030

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The government's decision to set up the UK Space Agency has helped make the industry a "success story", MPs say.

The Science and Technology Committee found a "sense of momentum", with the space sector growing at 7.5% a year and expected to be worth £40bn by 2030.

But it warned that the UK needed to increase its influence over the European Space Agency to ensure continued progress.

It also said more women needed to be attracted to the industry.

The UK Space Agency (UKSA), part of the department for Business and Skills, was created in 2011 "to lead and foster the growing UK space sector, delivering a world-class space-programme with maximum economic, scientific and social benefit".

Its role includes funding projects together with the European Space Agency and advising ministers on policy.

The UKSA, which has 44 staff, based mainly near Swindon, also regulates the industry, including the licensing of UK-based satellite operators.

The committee's report said: "The UK's space sector is a real success story. It is one of our economy's fastest growing sectors, with an average growth rate of almost 7.5%, and it has ambitions to increase its annual turnover to £40 billion by 2030.

"Our inquiry heard much positive feedback about the work of the UK Space Agency since its creation in 2011. Whilst there is more work to done, we were pleased to find a sense of momentum within the agency and a real desire to respond to the needs of the space sector."

It added: "Given the right support, the sector will continue to grow and provide more and more high-quality jobs in disciplines where the UK has real strength."

But the committee found not enough women were coming into engineering and other space-related professions and promised to address this in a future report.

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