UK Space Agency gains new steering board

Posted on 26 Aug 2011 by The Manufacturer

Building support for the UK space sector the UK Space Agency has announced the formation of a new steering board.

Science Minister David Willetts today confirmed the addition of four new members to the UK Space Agency Steering Board as efforts escalate to develop Britain’s competitive capabilities in the space sector.

The newly appointed members are: Rob Douglas, currently chairman of the South East England Development Agency who will now chair the Steering Board; David Southwood, a veteran academic in the space industry; Sally Cantello, previously CEO of the Whitehall and Industry Group and Baljit Dhillon, a chartered engineer with a range of industry and public sector experience.

It will be the responsibility of the Steering Board to advise government on UK Space Agency strategy formation and link Agency activity to commercial interests.

The UK space sector contributes £7.5bn a year to the UK economy, directly employs 24,900 and supports a further 60,000 jobs across a variety of industries. The sector was identified as a key competitive strength and a target areas for development in the government’s Plan for Growth.

Announcing the new board members Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: “I’m delighted to welcome such high calibre members to the new UK Space Agency Steering Board. Their expertise will be vital in helping the Agency realise its ambitions for our rapidly growing space sector.”

Responding to his new appointment and responsibilities Rob Douglas said: “The UK has a strong and globally competitive space sector with ambitious targets for growth. The UK Space Agency has a pivotal role in ensuring that the UK meets those targets and I am delighted to have the opportunity to be a part of that.”

2011 has marked an escalation in activity for the UK Space sector as government has shown new attention to building an infrastructure of support around it. In July this year Mr Willetts was also present at the first annual UK Space Conference.

The Minister announced several important tax reforms at this event which will lower the cost of licensing satellites in the UK. The changes are expected to save the space industry £7 million over 11 years in insurance premiums.