Expanding exploration of space is vital to solving many of the challenges on Earth, Rebecca Evernden, director for space at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has said.

Speaking at the Space-Comm Expo 2022, Evernden said that many of the issues governments in the UK and abroad were grappling with could be tackled with investment in space.

“Space is essential to delivering many of the things that UK citizens need for our daily lives,” she commented.

“When you talk about space, it’s exciting, it’s inspirational – all those things are very important. But actually I think at this time … space can help solve the challenges that we are facing, both domestically and internationally.”

United message for ministers

Evernden was speaking as the new UK government prepares to set out its agenda under Prime Minister Liz Truss, with the space sector waiting to learn where ministers’ priorities will lie.

The senior civil servant added: “If we can be as united in the messages that we are putting across to ministers in those early days – I spent some time talking to industry colleagues, and we discussed the importance and the need to put a coherent and coordinated message as far as possible from civil servants to ministers – then I think we will be in a good position to make the case for the importance of space going forward.”

Importance of space

The UK’s space sector is a vital part of the UK economy, worth over £16.4 billion per year and employing over 45,000 people.

The UK’s national space strategy, unveiled in September 2021, outlined four key pillars for the industry: unlocking growth in the space sector; collaborating internationally; growing the UK as a science and technology superpower and developing resilient space capabilities and services.
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