Will Whitehorn was appointed President of UKspace, the trade association which represents the UK space industry, in September 2019. He previously played a central role in the development and concept of commercial spaceflight at Virgin Galactic, and now holds several non-executive roles in companies and organisations including the Royal Air Force. In a wide-ranging interview for ROOM, he talks about the significant opportunities he sees for the UK and international space sector, and explains how he believes his own passion for technology and engineering, combined with his lengthy business experience, can benefit the industry.
What are the issues facing the global space industry?
The biggest single issue facing the global space industry over the next 20 years is going to be the need to industrialise space to mitigate the effects of climate change. The industry as a whole must promote itself as a provider of solutions; it’s not part of the problem.
This is in every area - from Earth observation and weather management right the way through to taking industrial activities currently within the Gaia of the planet’s atmosphere out of the atmosphere and into space. This includes things like server farms, and eventually the production of power in space and solar reflectors to mitigate the effects of climate change.