UK’s place in new space race

The UK Space Exploration Working Group has issued a report recommending that the UK should be involved in human and robotic space exploration


The UK Space Exploration Working Group (SEWG) has issued a report recommending that the UK should be involved in human and robotic space exploration.



SEWG, an advisory committee established by the UK government’s London-headquartered British National Space Centre (BNSC), announced the report’s findings the BA Festival of Science in York.



The SEWG began the project in January 2007 with a view to examining current worldwide plans for space exploration as defined by the Global Exploration Strategy (GES). The GES is an international initiative that involves 14 national space agencies, which outlines the ambitions of countries undertaking space travel, including the UK, China, Russia, India and Japan. The GES addresses near-future missions that will see humans and robots investigating the surfaces of the Moon and Mars together, while fleets of unmanned probes explore far reaches of the solar system.



‘We recommend that the UK engages in preparatory human space flight activities’, said OxfordUniversity’s Prof Frank Close, chairman of SEWG. ‘Simultaneously we should maintain and extend the UK’s significant role in planetary science and robotic exploration. The UK has had a great tradition in exploration over the centuries but it is now time for a new vision’.



The group’s recommendations stress the need to be involved at the start in this new era of space exploration which it believes provides key opportunities for the UK to shape and participate fully in space science whilst building on its position as a centre of excellence for science, technology and innovation.