Britain needs to spend more on keeping up in the space race, a Midland MP has warned.
Bill Olner (Lab Nuneaton) said the UK was playing a leading role in developing space-based technology.
But we risked falling behind countries such as Finland and Belgium because we were failing to invest in developing new products, he said.
Mr Olner is chair of the Commons all-party group on space and was leading a Commons debate on UK space policy.
He said: "UK space is a vital part of the world's disaster monitoring and disaster management infrastructure, and British companies used British space technology this year to make a real difference to relief efforts after the Asian tsunami, the famine in Darfur and, most recently, the earthquake in Pakistan and Indian Kashmir. Our space industry is not just making money; it is saving lives."
The British space sector employed more than 15,000 and generated £4 billion a year for the economy.
"It is no surprise that the space sector is seen by many countries as a prize asset and a strategic asset. Britain spends £195 million a year on civil space activities.
"That is equivalent to about a penny per person per day. Sadly, our level of spending as a proportion of gross domestic product is only 16th in the world; we are well behind the Finns and the Belgians."
Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said: "In the world, and the UK, decisions are being taken and new developments taken forward. The UK is taking a leading role."