Journal of Air Law and Commerce

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Launching into space was once the pursuit of super-power nations, who, during a period of international tensions, competed to be the first—the first into space and the first to the Moon. While the United Kingdom (U.K.) had a similar appetite it never achieved a space launch from its national soils, often thwarted by political and economic constraints. This said, the U.K. has played a key role, working alongside other nations in technological advancements related to space. This paper revisits the historical legacy of the U.K.’s space ventures and its space policies before comment is made to the current strategy and future vision. The approach is interdisciplinary and factors in semi-quasi case studies, particularly factoring in the European Space Agency. The findings are that the U.K. is returning to its original goal, with a renewed appetite to be a global leader in space launches, while also aiming to protect national interests which have necessitated closer alignment of the civil and defense space strategies.



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