Written Evidence Submitted by Thomas Keating Ltd
Thomas Keating Ltd is an export driven Scientific Instruments business where perhaps 50% of our work is currently in the Space market
Coming from the SME and hardware end of the business, I have found the UK’s ability to innovated and combine University IP, and specialist low- volume manufacturing a real asset in exporting successfully (i.e.be profitable, and be paying corporation tax as a result).
So, prospect is good at the fundamental level – our national characteristics - this is an area where the UK can do well.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current UK space sector and research and innovation base;
The University/Small business base is good compared with many of our competitors:
The poor response time for Export Control determination… especially to China – is a real impediment to business.
Our part of the business is dominated by AIRBUS and RAL…. and as an SME we often flight myself competing against RAL for work. As a Tax paying business, to have to fight a UK government organization for orders puts my blood pressure up.
As an export-Driven SME, I have been more concerned about the programmes of other (bigger) countries (China/US/India), and have had little contact with the UKSA and related infrastructure.
Keeping out of the (flag-waving) launcher and manned flight activities has been sensible.
At our size, you can’t do everything, so I would continue to stay clear of launcher and manned flight, romantic and inspirational as they are.
I can only comment upon areas where we are active viz
Here the UK does have significant expertise, and I suggest we stay in this game.
Encouraging SME activities (as well as deal with Export Control issues) so that AIRBUS and the cluster around RAL do not dominate the business
Optics for the next generation of microwave weather satellites, designed, built and tested by us as an SME
 Customer include CASC in China, ISRO in India, NASA Goddard and JPL, Northrop Grumman, USAF, as well as ESA AIRBUS & Thales