Westminster Business Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Key priorities for the space sector in the UK

Morning, Wednesday, 2nd December 2020

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will examine policy priorities for the UK space sector, including discussion on:

The discussion in detail:

Regulation of spaceflight and the establishment of the National Space Council

As the UK Government seeks to increase the UK's share of the global space market to 10% by 2030, the conference will be an opportunity to discuss the next steps for the sector towards achieving this target. It will include discussion on:

  • What more needs to be done to reduce the skills gap in the sector, support access to finance and the most efficient use of Government funding, and utilise the regulatory framework to enable the sector to grow
  • The Government’s ongoing consultation on spaceflight regulation, which aims to establish commercial vertical and horizontal small satellite launch, sub-orbital space flight and space tourism from UK spaceports
  • The formation of the National Space Council, recently confirmed as a Cabinet Committee and its role in enabling the UK to use its space capabilities to promote security, prosperity and science, as well as trade, international partnerships and global influence. Also considering, whether the creation of the Council is likely to lead to a more joined up approach to space across Government as intended

UK Spaceports and commercial spaceflight

  • Delegates will also consider the continuation of work on the development of spaceports within the UK, with Space Hub Sutherland recently being granted planning permission and Virgin Galactic preparing to test its passenger rocket plane
  • It follows the signing of a new agreement between the UK and US Governments to support the UK’s spaceport plans by allowing US companies to operate from UK spaceports and export space launch technology
  • How close the UK is to its first commercial launch and the regulation required to make this a reality
  • The opportunities that spaceports potentially provide, including the opportunities for economic growth in the areas they are developed in and the provision of high skilled jobs, along with potential challenges including damage to the environment and increased pressure on local roads


  • Further discussion will focus on the recent announcement of the Government’s new National Space Innovation Programme offering an initial £15m funding for projects related to Earth observation, communications and international partnerships, looking at the likely impact of this funding and whether it will enable the UK to compete on the world stage
  • The use of space technology in developing solutions to global challenges, as the UK Space Agency announces funding of £3.4m for 10 leading-edge projects using space to tackle global development problems - from the spread of malaria to human trafficking and forced labour

International Collaboration and the UK’s future satellite navigation system

  • With collaboration such as the proposed Australian-UK space bridge and the recent agreement between the UK and US governments sessions will consider what this means for future international relationships
  • The UK’s future relationship with Europe and other key international space clusters and options for both ensuring UK companies can expand into other markets and are able to attract international investment and talent post-Brexit
  • Britain’s future satellite navigation system following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Galileo system:
    • with the initial replacement for Galileo now being reviewed by Government
    • how Britain can develop a cheaper alternative through international collaboration with the US
    • making use of OneWeb as a platform for the technology - with Government recently pledging to invest £500m in OneWeb, subject to US court approval


  • Priorities for the long awaited UK space defence strategy which is due to set out the Government plans to tackle emerging space-based threats to commercial and military satellites
  • The feasibility of the plans set out in the strategy and the role that the MoD and other government and public bodies can play as an anchor customer to the industry to utilise government procurement as a leaver to support industry growth

The agenda:

  • The development and regulation of commercial spaceflight in the UK
  • Commercialising the UK’s space sector: spaceport development and spaceflight regulation
    • Progress with plans for UK spaceflight
    • Plans for commercial flights in the UK
    • The future regulatory framework for the sector
    • Developing and utilizing funding for UK spaceports
    • Space flight operations and manufacturing
  • Strengthening international partnerships and cooperation
  • Opportunities for growth, innovation and utilising funding
    • Collaboration between government and industry to achieve growth in the sector
    • Developing the skills and workforce to meet sector needs
    • The role that the UK space sector can play in earth observation and combatting climate change
    • Improving telecommunications and connectivity
    • Defence, space and the MOD’s role as a customer to the industry
  • Next steps for the UK’s space sector

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by the Cabinet Office; Defence Airspace and Air Traffic Management; Government Legal Department; UK Space Agency and the Welsh Government. Also due to attend are representatives from Arqiva; CGI; DTSL; Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office; Frazer-Nash Consultancy; and Spaceport Cornwall.

Press passes have been reserved by representatives from The Financial Times and Satellite Evolution Group.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Graham Turnock

Chief Executive Officer, UK Space Agency

Paul Cremin

Commercial Spaceflight Policy & Regulation Lead, Department of Transport


Dr Philippa Whitford MP

Vice Chair, Parliamentary Space Committee


Nick Shave

Chair, UKSpace

Steve Eisele

Vice President, Business Development, Virgin Orbit

Joanne Wheeler

Managing Partner, Alden Legal

David Oxley

Director of Business and Sector Development, Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Nik Smith

Regional Director UK and Europe, Lockheed Martin Space

Graham Peters

Chair, Space Growth Partnership

Air Vice-Marshal Harvey Smyth

Director Space, Ministry of Defence