Written Evidence Submitted by Thales and Thales Alenia Space response

(SPA0060)

Introduction

The UK must be equipped to defend its own assets, own viable space capabilities to trade with international partners, address climate change and improve Britain’s productivity. Together, Thales Alenia Space and Thales have ambitions to grow the UK space sector and support the HMG ambitions for the UK to be a significant global actor in space and a leading science super power.

This submission is made on behalf of Thales Alenia Space and Thales. 

Thales is a global technology business operating across the Aerospace, Transport, Space, Digital Identity, Security, and Defence markets. Worldwide we employ over 80,000 people across 68 countries. Thales in the UK employs over 7,000 people, including 4,500 highly skilled engineers, across 10 key sites.

Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), has over 40 years’ experience of delivering telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments and private industry count on Thales Alenia Space to design satellite-based systems that provide anytime, anywhere connections and positioning, monitor our planet, enhance management of its resources, and explore our Solar System and beyond. Thales Alenia Space has around 7,700 employees in 18 sites in 11 countries across Europe and the USA.

Thales Alenia Space opened its UK operation in 2014 to contribute to the UK’s growing and dynamic space sector by developing new breakthrough innovations and currently has a highly skilled workforce of nearly 200 people across facilities in Bristol, Harwell and Thales Belfast. Space scientists and engineering teams in Bristol design and build remote sensing missions and instruments for Earth observation and Science missions. The Thales Alenia Space teams in Harwell are world leaders in the design of electric propulsion modules for satellite systems which are built in Thales’ facility in Belfast.

This submission welcomes the Government’s clear ambitions for civil and defence space, but we believe that there is the need for Government to act to allow the market to reach its potential. It is imperative that the National Space Strategy is implemented in such a way to develop a broader supply chain, encourage additional prime level industrial players and enhance the attractiveness of inward investment to the whole space industrial ecosystem.

What are the prospects for the UK’s global position as a space nation, individually and through international partnerships?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current UK space sector and research and innovation base?

What lessons can be learned from the successes and failures of previous space strategies for the UK and the space strategies of other countries?

What should be the aims and focus of a new UK Space Strategy, including considerations of:  technology;  skills and diversity;  research funding, investment and economic growth;  industry;  civil and defence applications; international considerations and partnerships; place; current regulatory and legislative frameworks and impact on UK launch potential; and impacts of low Earth orbit satellites on research activities. 

 

 

What needs to be done to ensure the UK has appropriate, resilient and future-proofed space and satellite infrastructure for applications including navigation systems; weather forecasting; earth observation including climate change; and communication (including broadband)?

 

 

(June 2021)