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Public attitudes to space and satellites

An update to the report ‘Public views on commercial application of Space (2013), reviewing information on public attitudes available at the time of writing, January 2016.

Executive summary

The UK’s involvement in space exploration, including astronaut Tim Peake joining the
International Space Station, may cause a change in public attitudes that should be
investigated.

Data from surveys in the original report shows that the public’s attitudes to satellites and
the commercial applications of space technology are generally positive, with uncertainty
about the future financial benefit.

They have a strong desire to understand and contribute to decisions on the role of
advanced space technology.

People are ambivalent towards the UK’s development of the space industry, but generally
support space exploration and developing space-related technologies.

Space exploration and tourism are viewed as having great potential to enthuse the UK
about science and technology.

People are less certain about use of space for novel military purposes, as well as how the
commercialisation of space will be funded, and the economic benefits. The prospect of
mining minerals from space is rejected as inappropriate and too speculative.

People strongly support more education and engagement on space technologies, and
desire more public involvement in developments.

Further policy should be based on public opinion, and consultation is advised.

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