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Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Space full of 'commercial opportunities'

The space sector has been one of the few industries to grow strongly in recent years.

That's one of the reasons Britain is going to be putting more money into the European Space Agency - increasing its contribution by £70 million to £240 million a year.

The 20 member states of the Agency will be meeting to decide what they should be investing in. And British companies are hoping the increased investment will work in their favour.

The Universities and Science Minister David Willetts told the Today programme: "We are backing sectors where Britain has got great strengths.

"Growth is our top priority and we're focusing our investment on areas where we think we're going to get a four to one return of extra business investment.

"Space is such a big complicated thing, it's very hard for any European country to do it on its own. Our strategy has been to avoid the expense of launch vehicles, and just focus on the hi-tech applications where we think are the best commercial opportunities."

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