Elon Musk warned ‘Next SpaceX’ could come from UK as Britain launches space boost

SpaceX release concept animation for Mars mission

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Earlier this week, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy launched a major space technology funding boost that is meant to help slash carbon emissions, enhance the country’s energy security, and turn the UK into a science superpower. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng announced that as part of the investment in the UK’s space industry, £3million of grant funding will be made available for space-based solar power (SBSP) projects.

These projects harness the Sun’s energy using solar panels orbiting the Earth, which will then be sent down to earth and to deliver clean energy, day and night, unaffected by the weather.

Alongside this funding, the Government also announced the appointment of a new space chief, as Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris will now serve as the first-ever National Space Champion.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Morris said: “The biggest priority is trying to bring the SMEs that’s in the supply chain, and trying to bring them with the Government.

“There’s literally thousands of SMEs out there that contribute to these bigger space and defence companies that need to have assistance with funding.

“They need to have recognition through contract procurement with Government and basically bringing them together, which was what the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Space was set out to do all the time.

“My job now is to get a panel of SMEs together, sit down and work out where we go with it.”

Also the chair of the APPG for Space, Mr Morris noted that aside from supporting British SME’s in the space sector, his job also involves bringing in major foreign companies from overseas.

He continued: “The space industry is a very big industry worldwide, it’s £240billion and we’re currently accounting for about £16billion of that.

“We’ve got a long way to go but we’re still a significant player on the world stage and I believe we’ll be worth more than that because we’ve still not taken SMEs into the equation.

When asked about whether with Government support, could these companies grow into being the next SpaceX, he said: “Yes of course.

“I mean SpaceX was a start not so long ago, that’s the truth of it.

“The SMEs range from the suppliers who make the components for the rockets or the satellites or for rockets, to the critical centres in the universities who get together and work on getting funding and work on new concepts.

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“My job is to identify who these people are and bring them together.”

Aside from the SBSP projects, the Government also announced that it would offer grant funding for “cutting-edge weather monitoring sensors to aid more accurate weather forecasts.”

The Hyperspectral Microwave Sounder (HYMS), developed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s RAL Space, will help meteorological agencies and businesses around the world involved with planning, shipping and flood warnings.

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