LeapZipBlog: Thomas Moore's blog: Space as a Foreign Policy Tool in the UK

Space as a Foreign Policy Tool in the UK

November 29, 2019 by Thomas Moore  

The UK foreign policy has never existed in the abstract but used each area of economic activities in its struggle for leadership on the world market and for its space independence lately. Then again, any powerful country does the same for the sake of its security and prosperity.

The space industry is not the exception and it serves an efficient tool in dexterous hands of the British Government. More exciting space analytics is on Orbital Today and now, it’s time to shed the light on some UK Space Agency’s foreign-policy plans and successes.

Achievements to Compete and to Win

Some crucial steps have been already made to save foreign influence and remain a strong performer on the market. 

  • The country aims to cover 10% of the world space market by 2030. The UK can already boast 6.5%. 

  • The UK space industry is a member of the European Space Agency.

  • It features the majority of academic research from the standpoint of publications based on space exploration and related topics.

  • The National Space Agency greets the Mars Rover leaving Stevenage to wait for the next year’s tests and launch.

However, it’s just the beginning and the powers acknowledge the need for qualified jobs in a technologically advanced sectors to save the status of the high welfare state with constantly-growing income.

Objectives and Priorities in Space Developments 

Recently, the national space industry has started to give much more attention to native opportunities and prospects in terms of leaving the Galileo program. Certainly, the country would like to stay a member of the international team working on Copernicus, despite their parting with the European Union. However, it’s important to have national capabilities as a “backup”.

That is the reason for seeking a native global navigation satellite system. Moreover, the country initiated researches to find the opportunity for launches on the territory of the United Kingdom. The analysts consider this branch of space industry potentially lucrative and promising. Note that it deals with not only small or private launches but with military coverage as well.  To that end, the process of the National Space Council has been initiated to bring together opportunities and capabilities of the government, civil companies, and military organizations. 

Brexit and the U.K. Space Program – What to Expect

Graham Turnock, the head of the U.K. Space Agency claims that Galileo and Copernicus are huge projects, and they cannot be discounted. That is the strong reason for further engagement in these programs. However, if it’s not possible, the U.K should take care of its own capabilities. For this purpose, it started establishing its national interest in emerging markets of China and India. Besides, the UK has contracts with American NASA and NOAA. For example, Great Britain procures equipment for James Webb Space Telescope.

Although the USA remains the most important strategic partner, it doesn’t exclude the necessity to build relationships with other countries around the globe, as well as to participate in European projects even after leaving the EU.  


Now, please, comment on the post and express your own opinion about the space policy of the country. Are there any other ways to strengthen the positions in the world space market?