Britain and Germany, alongside France, are the major players in the EU space market. Will the UK become a leader in this competition?
Public Opinion About the UK Space Industry vs German Space Programmes
The UK space industry has a somewhat unique standing among other space programmes in the EU. Additionally, notable European countries that are interested in rocket launching include Germany and France. These countries are the three engines of the continent. They have always supported each other in terms of science and technology, despite all political misunderstandings. Still, several years ago, Britain decided to leave the Union, and Brexit became a significant political event in Europe. Since then, Germany and France are facing a new rival in space exploration and rocket launching.
Each of these countries has its interests in building satellites and rockets to advance technologically and economically. Germany was the most prominent space player before Great Britain stepped in. There is no secret that these two have a long history of competition between them. Such politics have been quite typical for both countries even after World Wars I and II ended. So, what happens next, and who will become a new space leader of the 21st century?
Ongoing Rivalry For Leadership in EU Rocket Launching Between The UK and Germany
The commercial space race is rapidly moving forward as more countries explore space technology and its benefits. Europe is no exception, of course. However, its prominent space countries have different opinions about where to move further. The UK is already a leading satellite manufacturer that recently turned its attention to spaceport construction. The UK Space Agency and government are funding several local launchpads, both for vertical and horizontal launches. When these spaceports are commissioned, the UK will become the first space-faring nation in Europe. More importantly, it will be able to offer a full cycle of space services, from building satellites to placing them in required orbits. Eventually, the UK may even turn its gaze to space tourism and exploration.
As for Germany’s space industry, it seems to be less innovative and advanced. Despite governmental financial support, fewer citizens are interested in German space programmes. Besides, German politicians are more into exploring the healthcare benefits of space tech. And such needs require a lot more funding to be successful.
However, allocating large budgets to space tech could destroy Germans’ public faith in this field whatsoever. Most Germans believe that they have plenty of more acute issues to solve with the government’s money. Indeed, the country faces a considerable amount of social and economic problems that are not so crucial for Great Britain. Massive immigration, lack of natural resources, and other burdens imposed on it by the EU leave no time and effort to develop its space industry on a decent level. So, there is no doubt that Germany is quite successful in space tech, but local problems are not helping German scientists reach their heights.
Government Patronage and Public Support of the UK Space Industry Might Leave Germany Behind
The British have always been known for their national spirit. These people are famous for following all progressive modern tendencies their nation could improve on and benefit from. A similar trend is now evident in the public perception of the UK space industry development. Since the beginning of the space programme’s development, most Brits seemed to be quite optimistic about it. What is more important, such a positive attitude is still prevalent today.
In a way, Great Britain is a country where a mere thought of space exploration has become a national idea. They have always been considered the major contributor to satellite manufacture, so the UK’s experience is already valuable. But now, the British government’s main ambition is to develop a stable infrastructure for horizontal and vertical launches. To do so, the UK space industry is going to keep its focus on launching rockets from local spaceports. Right now, it is hard to say which facility will be commissioned first. Still, two Scottish spaceports at Shetland and Sutherland do stand out when it comes to vertical rocket launches.
By leaving the EU, Great Britain got rid of many problems that burdened it. So, they managed to allocate more time and resources to work on their national interests and, among those, the UK space industry. As a result, the UK has all the chances to beat Germany in the new space — especially if it manages to build its spaceports and gain space independence. But since no launchpad is commissioned as of now, we will have to wait and see what happens next.
Can Proper Funding and a Positive Public Opinion Help Britain Become the EU Space Leader
In general, one can hardly predict which of the two countries will win in the new space race. It is evident that by 2021 Great Britain achieved a lot more progress than Germany. The British government is certainly focused on using very convenient and cheap methods of delivering satellites into space. Even though Germany invests more money into space technologies and rocket building, the country lacks dedication and public support of the space sector.
Great Britain has made more progress because of the route they’ve chosen. The country is striving to build an independent space industry, which seems a wise choice after Brexit. On the other hand, the UK and Germany focus on different space industry segments, all of which are essential. So, it seems like the best results can be achieved in a collaboration between rival countries. But, it won’t happen any time soon since Britain seems to stick to its progressive agenda, trying to get maximum profit while using minimum effort and funding. It is hard to tell what this space race will result in, but Britain’s space industry is definitely on the rise now. Soon, we’ll see if the UK manages to strengthen its already impressive position.