UK Space Agency makes way for Lord Willetts as new Board chair2nd May 2022
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng appointed former Minister for Universities and Science Lord David Willetts as Chair of the UK Space Agency’s Board on 26th April. The move comes as the government steps up preparations for, among other things, the UK’s first domestic launch, UKSA stated in a press release.
Along with being Minister for Universities and Science from 2010 through 2014, Lord Willetts has held a variety of positions in academia and government. These include being Chair of the British Science Association, a Space Policy Advisory Board member for EU External Action Service, Board member of UKRI, and a member of the ESA Expert Group on the Future of Space in Europe. He is currently a visiting professor at King’s College London and President of the Advisory Council and Intergenerational Centre.
The government’s press release quotes Lord Willetts as saying, “I am a strong supporter of the UK space sector in all its diversity and am grateful for this new opportunity to serve it.”
The appointment also comes after the release of the UK Space Strategy. This document, first released in September 2021, outlines four pillars for developing the UK space sector, namely unlocking growth, international partnerships, developing resiliency in the UK space industry, and “growing the UK as a science and technology superpower”.
Lord Willetts had been an advisor to Edinburgh-based Skyrora, which is waiting for permission to conduct a forthcoming launch from Iceland. Skyrora noted Lord Willett’s departure on Twitter by thanking him for all that he had done for the company during his time with them “Skyrora would like to congratulate Lord Willetts on his recent appointment as the Chairman of the UK Space Agency! We are incredibly grateful for his expertise and dedicated service as an advisor to Skyrora. All the very best from the Skyrora team.”