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Introduction of Space Industry Bill shows UK’s commitment to commercial spaceflight

The Space Industry Bill has been introduced into the House of Lords, marking the first step in the process to create new laws and regulatory framework to enable exciting new technologies to operate safely from the UK.

The Bill, which was outlined in the Queen’s Speech, is a clear signal of the UK’s commitment to enabling commercial spaceflight from UK spaceports, and a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy to ensure the UK businesses capture a share of this emerging global market.

Lord Callanan, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Transport introduced the Space Industry Bill, which is a joint initiative by the Department for Transport, UK Space Agency and Civil Aviation Authority supported by the Health and Safety Executive.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:

The Space Industry Bill will ensure the UK remains a leading player in the commercial space age by enabling small satellite launch from UK spaceports. The measures in the Bill will help make the UK the most attractive place in Europe for commercial launch and enable UK businesses to capture a growing share of this emerging global market.

The emerging markets for small satellite launch and sub-orbital flight are forecast to be worth over £25 billion globally over the next 20 years. They offer exciting opportunities to grow the UK space sector, create local jobs and inspire the next generation of British scientists and engineers.

The main elements of the Bill are:

  • new powers to license a wide range of spaceflight activities, including vertically-launched rockets, spaceplanes, satellite operation, spaceports and other technologies
  • a comprehensive and proportionate regulatory framework to manage risk, ensuring that commercial spaceflight in the UK remains safe
  • measures to regulate unauthorised access and interference with spacecraft, spaceports and associated infrastructure, drawing on the UK’s extensive expertise – particularly in aviation security
  • measures to promote public safety by providing a regulatory framework to cover operational insurance, indemnity and liability

This legislation will ensure the UK can take advantage of new markets, overcome dependence on foreign launch services and benefit from the development of new spaceports and supply chains.


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