Na­tional Space Coun­cil to be chaired by Rishi Su­nak

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Matthew Field

RISHI SU­NAK is to lead the Na­tional Space Coun­cil as the UK at­tempts to po­si­tion it­self at the fore­front of space tech­nol­ogy, The Tele­graph can re­veal.

The Na­tional Space Coun­cil will be chaired by the Chan­cel­lor. It will also in­clude the For­eign Sec­re­tary Do­minic Raab, the Cabi­net Of­fice Min­is­ter, De­fence Sec­re­tary, Busi­ness Sec­re­tary and Dig­i­tal Sec­re­tary.

Newly pub­lished guid­ance says the Space Coun­cil’s re­mit in­cludes con­sid­er­ing is­sues “con­cern­ing pros­per­ity, diplo­macy and na­tional se­cu­rity in, through and from space”.

The aim of the Space Coun­cil will be to pro­mote na­tional se­cu­rity and in­ter­na­tional deals in the space sec­tor, as well as to fo­cus in­vest­ment.

The in­dus­try has tre­bled in size since 2000. In­dus­try fig­ures have long called for a space com­mit­tee at the high­est lev­els of Gov­ern­ment to give the sec­tor a seat at the ex­ec­u­tive ta­ble.

The Gov­ern­ment first an­nounced plans for the Na­tional Space Coun­cil last sum­mer, trum­pet­ing pledges to work with the US in ce­ment­ing Bri­tain’s place in the new space race.

In­vest­ment in the sec­tor an­nounced last year in­cluded £20m for a space port in Corn­wall and plans for Vir­gin Or­bit to de­velop launch ca­pac­ity in the UK. But the plans went quiet for months, lead­ing in­dus­try mem­bers to de­mand the Gov­ern­ment “pull its fin­ger out” and press on with broad­en­ing the hori­zons of Bri­tain’s space plans.

In March, the col­lapse of OneWeb came as a blow to the in­dus­try. The satel­lite firm, which is build­ing a lowearth-or­bit sys­tem, has since be­come the sub­ject of a res­cue bid by the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment.

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