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UK Space Race

The Guardian online 31.12.20 - Is the UK about to have lift off in the global space industry? article dated May 13th 2019 - How can the UK space sector lead the world?

Today the UK space industry employs almost 42,000 people and generates an income of £14.8 billion each year.

In 1969 a British engineer was invited to the White House to meet President Nixon. His name was Francis Thomas Bacon and he had developed the fuel cells used on Apollo 11. Know as the Bacon fuel cells these power sources consume hydrogen and oxygen to produce water, heat and in theory a continuous supply of electricity. Nixon told him "Without you Tom, we wouldn't have gotten to the moon".

Britain's rich heritage in space dates back to the 1940's and the aftermath of the Second World War when British scientists test fired re-assembled V2 rockets from Saxony to 40km altitude becoming the first peacetime spaceflight. Today Britain leads the way in the European telecoms satellite programme thanks to the likes of Inmarsat and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL).

The UK government wants the UK to be the most attractive place in Europe for those looking to launch into orbit and beyond. The global small satellite launch market is worth about £400 billion and the UK wants 10% of that market by 2030. That's why the UK is investing in a number of spaceports (airports for rockets) across the country. Most recently the government gave the green light for Lockheed Martin to transfer its small satellite launch operations to the Shetland Space Centre in Unst the UK's most northerly island.

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