The government (and the one before it) have been planning for Britain's spacefaring future for some time now, what with the plans to build a spaceport and the recent passing of the Space Industry Bill. While those plans are great, as are the predictions that they'll bring lots of money to the UK economy, the House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee has warned there's a looming problem that will screw with those plans. It's Brexit.
The job of the House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee is to scrutinise any EU policies and proposals that will affect the internal market, infrastructure and employment - plus how Brexit will impact all three. It's written to Sam Gyimah MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation to raise concerns about the the government's commitment to the space sector following Brexit. The committee is also concerned about how the whole Brexit uncertainty issue and how quickly its affected the UK's existing space sector and participation in EU space programmes.
This letter was the result of a rountable discussion held on 15th March, with witnesses from the world of academia, research, and professional industries providing evidence. One of the topics that came up was the UK's participation in, and access to, the Galileo satellite navigation system that's been in the news recently. Reports claim that the EU will be trying to keep the UK and UK-centric businesses away from the project following Brexit. While the government has apparently been fighting against that decision, the committee's letter has concerns about the security aspects of being locked out of the programme and the fact it could lead to jobs being moved out of the UK.