Britain to increase space technology funds

Nov. 9, 2012 at 5:09 PM

LONDON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Britain's government says it will increase its spending on space technology by $95 million in each of the next two years.

Chancellor George Osborne announced the increase as part of a plan to expand Britain's contribution to the European Space Agency, based in Paris.

The plan will increase Britain's contribution to the ESA by an average of 30 percent while a number of ESA member countries are struggling to meet their contribution promises or even talking of reducing them, the BBC reported Friday.

Britain expects its increased contribution will bring research contracts in return, the report said.

Science Minister David Willetts said space if a key sector for further economic growth for Britain.

"We have underestimated the strength of our space industry," he said. "In fact, we are a global player in satellite and telecommunications technology. This additional investment is a signal to ESA and commercial companies that we are going to continue to support space science and technology."

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