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Public views on the commercial application of space

This report is a review of currently available information on the views and values of the public towards developing space technology and on the commercialisation of space.

Executive summary

This report identifies the views and values expressed by the UK public towards developing space technology and the commercialisation of space. From analysing the sources, the main findings in this report on the public’s views towards developing the UK space industry are:

•             The public have mixed views on the UK’s development of the space industry, but in general, support the concept of exploring space and developing space-related technologies
•             The public feel disengaged with the space industry and do not realise the extent to which space-related technologies support our daily lives. A large proportion of people are unaware that the UK has a thriving space industry
•             A high profile space exploration project is seen by many of the public as an opportunity to arouse new interest in the space industry
•             The public would support greater investment in space education and engagement, and would welcome more public involvement in the innovative developments that are emerging from the space sector
•             The  most supported argument that the public has against developing commercial applications of space is the cost especially where it is using public money. Most of the public do not link investing in space research with the economic contribution that technology developed in space research makes to the UK
•             Unlike other areas of commercial space such as satellites, space tourism is a topic that the public engage with well, and the younger generation in particular show great enthusiasm towards space tourism. In other areas of space technology, children and young adults show less interest and support compared to adults
•             Mining minerals from space does not at present receive support from the wider public as they do not consider it to be an economically viable industry
•             The public are cautious of space technology and the military. Their support depends on the type of military technology in use. They are generally in support of the military using space for communication and surveillance, but not so if it involves weapon fire
•             Attempts to gather the views of the public have in most cases been undertaken by and with members of the scientific community.

Have your say

The views and values of the public will change and new information will become available. Hence, we welcome your views, insights or comments.
•    Do you know of further evidence which we should include?
•    Do you have any comments or suggestions to improve the report?

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