MP for Windsor
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Windsor MP asks questions on space policy in Parliament

On Tuesday 13th December Adam asked the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department for an update on the progress at the recent European Space Agency (ESA) summit (4:53 to 6:21):

 

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Questions, 13th December:

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): What steps his Department is taking to promote science and innovation.

Jo Johnson (Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation): This Government are strongly committed to science and innovation. We protected the science budget at the spending review in 2015. In the last autumn statement, a few days ago, we committed to spending a further £2 billion a year by 2020/21. The creation of UK Research and Innovation, through the passage of the Higher Education and Research Bill, will increase the value and impact of our investments in science and innovation in the years ahead. [Official Report, 16 December 2016, Vol. 618, c. 7-8MC.]

 

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): I thank the Minister for that answer. It has certainly been a good time for science and innovation in Britain. It has also been a good year for the UK space sector, with Major Tim Peake’s historic visit to the international space station and a new spaceport here in the UK. It certainly strikes me that the next big challenge will be the successful delivery of the ExoMars programme, particularly given some of the rumours that have been going around. Will the Minister update the House on any progress made at the European Space Agency summit recently?

Jo Johnson (Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation): Yes, I am happy to provide a brief update. My hon. Friend is an aficionado of space policy and former chair of the parliamentary space committee, so he will be delighted to know that we had an excellent outcome at the European Space Agency’s Council of Ministers. We committed a further €1.44 billion, which has secured the future of the ExoMars programme, among many other things.

 

The MP for the Windsor constituency, Adam Afriyie, said:

“As a former Chair of the Parliamentary Space Committee, I am delighted that the Government continues to invest in making the UK a world leader in the space industry.

“Space has the ability to inspire like few other areas. 2016 was a great year for the British space sector and has undoubtedly motivated many students to pursue their career, and dreams, in researching this area. I hope that 2017 will be even better.

“I am proud at the fact that Britain has a long and prestigious history of being at the cutting edge of technological innovation. We have some of the most prestigious universities, innovative technology companies and supportive regulatory environments in the world.

“This Government has made strong steps to creating the right ecosystem for the space industry to deepen its roots and grow. I hope that they continue the good work investing and nurturing technologies for the future.”

 

 

ENDS

  1. Adam Afriyie is the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana.
  2. He has a strong background in science, technology and innovation.
  3. He is currently Chairman of the Fintech APPG, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) and President of the Conservative Technology Forum (CTF).
  4. He was shadow Minister for Science from 2007-2010 and has a background in the information services and technology sector.
  5. He is Patron of the Parliamentary Space Committee (PSC) and was Chair of the PSC between 2010 and 2015.
  6. The POSTnote on ‘UK Commercial Space Activities’ can be found here.

 

Hurrah for Tim Peak – but we must cut the red tape that stands between us and the stars

Tim Peake, the first British astronaut for 20 years, blasted off this morning to dock with the ISS. Adam Afriyie MP, a former technology entrepreneur and Chair of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology has said that we must make sure that Tim Peake is the first of many British astronauts.

In an article, published on the Telegraph, Adam Afriyie writes:

“The ISS represents a truly momentous international achievement. It is our first permanent outpost at the beginning of a pioneering quest both to understand and ultimately colonise the universe.

The Chair of the Parliamentary Space Committee restates support for the space industry

Reacting to the crash of the Virgin Galactic test-flight in the Mojave desert, Adam Afriyie has called for a calm and reasoned response.

Mr Afriyie, who chairs the Parliamentary Space Committee commented:

“It is immensely sad to hear that one of the pioneering test pilots has died in the Virgin Galactic crash last week.

“Since William Huskisson, MP for Liverpool, was one of the first casualties of the then-emerging steam locomotive in 1830, the risks associated with the first generation of flight and transport technologies is well known. Trains and aircraft are now some of the safest forms of transport which have linked continents and boosted prosperity worldwide.

“It is only through innovation, trials, research and investment that sub-orbital space flight will become a safe technology for the public in the future, and we must thank the brave and experienced test pilots for the work they do.

“Whether it’s a public venture through NASA or private venture any fatalities must be investigated carefully, so that the causes can be identified and risks mitigated for the future, but it would be unwise, and unworthy of the test pilots, to halt progress.

“Commercial space flight is still in the early and experimental phase and every astronaut and pilot is aware of the risks when they choose to participate.

“Space exploration brings enormous benefits to us all and has been behind instrumental in developing technologies we now take for granted, such as mobile phones, cameras, SatNav systems, water filtration and medical scanning devices. The space industry enhances economic growth and technological advance not just in the UK, but globally.

“For the future of research, communications technology and high-speed travel, we must react calmly and sensitively to the sad news surrounding the Virgin Galactic test flight, whilst maintaining our commitment to innovation that will benefit humanity as a whole.

Contact:

 

Adam Afriyie welcomes Government commitment to UK spaceport

Adam Afriyie today welcomed the Government’s restatement of their commitment to a UK spaceport.

Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor and Chair of the Parliamentary Space Committee, said:

“I’m delighted the Government has again committed to establish a spaceport in the UK by 2018. This shows the Government has the vision to imagine Britain as a global player in this emerging industry.

“As politicians we need to keep our eye on the future. Just like business people, we need to spot new opportunities first, and I believe the space tourism industry is just one of those opportunities.

“The UK space sector already supports hundreds of thousands of high-quality tech jobs, and space tourism create countless more in the future. The value of aerospace exports alone grew by 12 percent in 2013.

“Moreover, this will encourage young people to become the space scientists of the future, putting Britain at the forefront of this important global industry.”

Contact:

Notes to Editors:

  1. Mr Afriyie’s website: http://www.adamafriyie.org/

 

Space tourism in the UK

Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent steps he has taken to encourage the growth of a space tourism industry in the UK.

Greg Clark (Minister of State, BIS): The Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend Mr Goodwill announced at the Farnborough International Air show in July 2014 the Government’s commitment to establish a spaceport in the UK by 2018. The Government is working to ensure that sub-orbital space participant and science flights are operated from this space port.