Space has 'huge potential' for the UK, says Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson – and 2009 will be be a key year in establishing the way ahead.
'2009 is going to be a pivotal year for UK space. It's an area where we are a real leader, and I think we'll have at the end of this year an absolutely crystal-clear plan of how we're going to capitalise on it. It's just the sort of industrial area which has real potential – in terms of growth, impact globally, playing to Britain's strengths – that we need to focus on, and I'm very pleased with the way in which it's developing.'
Lord Drayson spoke during a visit to the Oxford-based company Reaction Engines. There's been Government support towards the development of the company's Sabre air-breathing rocket engine, which Lord Drayson said has 'tremendous potential'.
The whole issue in space research now was around the economics of space travel, he said.
'It's about the development of vehicles which have the capability to be reused, not thrown away, and we've shown in the UK our ability to come up with novel solutions, for example in terms of satellite technology, which have transformed the economics of satellites. One of the challenges is to come up with a launch capability which is reusable, which moves towards the economic model of commercial airliners.'
The Hyperbola blog also includes a video interview with Reaction Engines Managing Director Alan Bond.