Above and beyond: visit to Inmarsat on UK’s role in space | IPT

The Industry and Parliament Trust is a non-lobbying, non-partisan educational platform of engagement between parliamentarians and businesses. Our team organised a visit for a cross-party group of parliamentarians to Inmarsat’s London location. Inmarsat is a global mobile satellite communication business, delivering high-speed broadband connectivity on land, at sea and in the air.  This visit aimed to give insight to the attending parliamentarians about ‘The UK as a Modern Space Power’ and its importance and relation towards the UK government.

The group of delegates started their visit by getting a tour of the Inmarsat control room, hosted by Mark Dickinson, the VP of Satellite Operations at Inmarsat. During the tour, parliamentarians were able to see the inner workings of Inmarsat and how they use and operate their satellites that provide high-speed broadband connectivity to consumers.

The visit continued with a roundtable discussion on the UK’s future in space and how they can shape themselves as a modern power. James Cemmell, Inmarsat’s VP of Government Affairs, introduced and chaired the discussion. The conversation focused on the value of space to the economy, society, national security and global influence. Other topics that were discussed included looking beyond Brexit and what it means to be a modern space power as the industry becomes increasingly contested and commercialised, the UK’s current and emerging strengths, and what the UK needs to do to seize future opportunities. This roundtable discussion gave parliamentarians in attendance the opportunity to learn and discuss important issues regarding modern space power in depth whilst gaining various perspectives from those in the industry.

This visit to Inmarsat was relevant to the parliamentary work of several members of our delegation. This includes Tobias Ellwood MP, the chair of the Select Committee on Defence, Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans MP who is the UK chair of the Technological and Aerospace committee and Stephen Metcalfe MP who is a Board Member of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, and Chair for the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee. Baroness Neville-Jones, the former chair of the Joint British Intelligence Agency and currently enrolled in a Fellowship, remarked “This was a very enlightening visit to an important UK company which plays a unique role in global communications.”

Other parliamentarians in attendance were Flick Drummond, MP for Neon Valley, Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington, Baroness Neville-Jones, Lord Cromwell, Lord Mountevans and Baroness Bowles.