Written evidence submitted by Thales


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 and our Joint Venture Thales Alenia Space 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. 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 make a significant contribution to the UK’s growing and dynamic space sector by developing new breakthrough innovations and currently has a highly skilled workforce of c. 200 people across facilities in Bristol, Harwell and 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 (NSS) 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.









How should the UK Government seek to further develop its strategic relationships and interoperability with allies?

Where can the UK most effectively develop and deploy its own sovereign defence capabilities, with particular regard to: Space Situational Awareness; PNT (Position, Navigation, Timing) services, in the context of the UK’s exit from the EU’s Galileo and EGNOS programmes; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance; and Communications

How vulnerable are our space assets to deliberate attack, both physical and otherwise, and what steps can be taken to improve their resilience (with regard both to defence capabilities and other critical national infrastructure)?

How can defence industrial policy ensure that investment and innovation in in the private space sector is harnessed to align with the UK’s defence requirements?

Have recent machinery of government changes ensured a joined-up and coherent approach to defence space policy both across Whitehall and within the MoD? What further improvements could be made?

What should be the priorities of the new Space Command, and how will its structures facilitate integration across all military domains and co-operation with commercial space operations?

How can the Ministry of Defence ensure that it attracts, develops and retains high calibre space specialists in both policy and operational roles?


13th July 2021