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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 11:43 GMT
Foreigners 'power space industry'
The Hylas satellite (Avanti)
Avanti's footprint will cover most of Europe
Britain's space programme is becoming increasingly reliant on scientists from India and China, MPs have been told.

The Commons science and technology committee heard there was a shortage of high-end science graduates from the UK.

MPs are examining the future of the UK's space industry, which is worth an estimated 120m in exports.

Avanti chief David Williams said 80% of its graduates are from India and China, adding: "They are the best qualified and hardworking and they turn up."

"There's a lot of work needs to be done to encourage young people to come in this industry," Mr Williams, who is chief executive, added.

Satellite technology

Avanti owns the Hylas spacecraft, which will deliver broadband internet services to rural Europe.

The satellite, which should launch in the November 2008, will cost 75m (110m euros) and will be built by EADS-Astrium. It should deliver hundreds of high-definition TV channels.

The MPs' inquiry comes a week after science minister Malcolm Wicks met Nasa chief Dr Michael Griffin to discuss the possibility of Britain's involvement in further Moon exploration.

Nasa has said it plans to start work on a permanently-occupied base on the Moon after astronauts begin flying back there in 2020.


SEE ALSO
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