Why doesn’t the UK have a manned space programme?

Josh Barker from the National Space Centre gets to the bottom of this question for us.


Asked by Chris Howlett

There are several reasons why the UK doesn’t have a manned space programme. These include cost, expertise, strengths and the ease of collaboration. Over the era of space flight the UK has plunged itself into becoming world leaders in satellite construction, marking this nation at the top of satellite engineering and technology. This application of strengths and focus to a specific area has left little room for the development of a manned programme.

Another factor is cost. Space flight is very expensive and all nations who have sought it have had to commit to the investment it requires. As a result of this, space exploration is growing to be a truly international project, with nations collaborating to maximise efficiency. This shared task has meant that different communities can take responsibility for different areas, spreading costs and time between wider groups of people.

In more recent years we as a nation have looked to broaden our interests. Recent initiatives have seen British astronauts begin training, and investment in crewed space vehicles aims to secure places for these astronauts among the stars.

As space exploration continues to grow, no doubt we will see an ever-growing interest from not only our country but from others around the world as we all continue to push mankind’s boundaries.

Answered by Josh Barker from the National Space Centre

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