HC Deb 29 October 1987 vol 121 cc381-2W
Mr. David Atkinson

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps his Department is taking to encourage public awareness of the potential and importance of the British space industry; and to encourage private sector investment.

Mr. Butcher

Through the British National Space Centre (BNSC), the Government aim to encourage public awareness of the potential and importance of the British space industry to scientific research and to industrial applications. This it does through press notices; publications; newsletters and posters; the encouragement of articles and a programme of speeches. The BNSC also participates in major aerospace exhibitions and has published a directory of United Kingdom space capabilities.

The BNSC also works closely with the Department of Education and Science to encourage an awareness of the uses of space activity in school curricula and has published a guide to courses, research opportunities and sponsorship for students.

Per cent.
Netherlands 3.7
Spain 2.5
Sweden 2.5
Switzerland 2.0
United Kingdom 13.1

Austria and Norway were riot members in 1986

Mr. Warren

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will publish the breakdown of annual expenditure proposed to Her Majesty's Government by the European Space Agency, listing it in the following four categories: Ariane 5, Hermes spacecraft, Columbus spacecraft, and other ventures; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Butcher

The latest comprehensive proposal from the European Space Agency, dated June 1987, gives total expenditure figures (in million European currency units (ecu) at today's prices) for the Columbus, Ariane 5 and Hermes development programmes as listed in the table.

We are still awaiting the ESA director generals's final proposals for the Ministerial Council on 9–10 November, but one change of which we have been informed is that the cost of Columbus development has increased to 3.9 billion ecu.

The proposed development programmes are optional, and, if they are agreed, it will be for each member state to decide on its level of participation.

Following the Prime Minister's invitation to the Private sector to come forward with further resources, major aerospace companies agreed to continue work at company expense on certain key national space programmes until the European Space Agency Ministerial Council meeting in November. Meanwhile, my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is having discussions with industry on possible long-term cooperation in the United Kingdom's space activities.

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