Today, the Commons Defence Select Committee issued a report titled “Defence Space: From Adversity to the Stars?” ‘ which claims that Britain has fallen behind other countries in space. It also claims that the government’s position on space “lacked sufficient clarity and direction.”
According to the 41-page report, Britain is ranked third in the world for its space programme.
The United States, China, and Russia have all been designated as top-tier space powers.
Moreover, Japan, France, and Germany were considered tier two, and Britain trails all of them in space.
The Committee’s chairman, senior Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, stated, “Over this inquiry, we heard that the UK is, at best, a third-rank space power, lagging behind Italy, and while the Government has acknowledged there is work to be done, the Whitehall machine is not moving fast enough.”
Following Brexit, the United Kingdom failed to develop its own satellite navigation system, as Theresa May withdrew from the European Union’s own system, known as the Galileo project, in 2018.
Britain had already invested £1.2 billion in the scheme, which was criticised at the time by Dominic Grieve, the former Conservative attorney general.
To address the UK’s lack of space enterprise, the report proposes creating a new Cabinet Office position for a Minister for Space to “provide central leadership on space.”
“The committee calls for the appointment of a Minister for Space within the Cabinet Office to provide clear centralised direction and accountability in taking forward the UK’s civil and defence ambitions in space,” it says.