Brussels, 16 Dec 2003
The UK science minister, Lord Sainsbury, unveiled his government's latest three year space strategy on 16 December, describing the Beagle 2 lander built for the European Mars Express mission as a benchmark for the country's ambitions in space.
The strategy sets out three core objectives:
- enhancing the UK's standing in astronomy, planetary and environmental sciences;
- stimulating increased productivity through promoting the use of space in government, science and commerce;
- developing innovative space technologies and systems to deliver sustainable improvement in quality of life.
Presenting the policy document, Lord Sainsbury outlined a fourth, underlying aim: 'A key objective to this strategy is to build on the UK's outstanding record of scientific discovery. Space is recognised as one of the essential tools that will help us to understand the Earth, the solar system and the universe. [...] Beagle 2 is a benchmark project which will provide the UK with scientific and industrial capabilities for the future.'
The strategy highlights the importance of close partnership between researchers and commercial companies in order to create new opportunities in areas such as telecommunications and global positioning systems. Furthermore, the UK will continue to achieve its objectives through the use of international cooperation, the strategy adds.
While the new space strategy primarily focuses on the next three years, this policy statement also represents the first time the UK government has included a long term perspective going as far as 2015.
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