UK Space Agency
Official logo of the United Kingdom Space Agency
|Formation||1 April 2010|
|Legal status||Executive agency of Her Majesty's Government|
|Headquarters||Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN2 1SZ|
|Minister of State for Universities, Science & Cities|
|Dr. David Parker|
|Department for Business, Innovation and Skills|
|£322.6 million (2013/2014)|
The United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) is an executive agency of the Government of the United Kingdom, responsible for the United Kingdom's civil space programme. It was established on 1 April 2010 to replace the British National Space Centre and took over responsibility for government policy and key budgets for space exploration, and represents the United Kingdom in all negotiations on space matters. It "[brings] together all UK civil space activities under one single management". It is initially operating from the existing BNSC headquarters in Swindon, Wiltshire.
Creation and aims
Around £230 million of funding and management functions was merged into the UK Space Agency from other organisations. "Improving coordination of UK efforts in fields such as Earth science, telecoms and space exploration" will form part of its remit, according to Lord Drayson.
Prior to the creation of the UK Space Agency, the space and satellite industry in the UK was valued at £6 billion and supported 68,000 jobs. The 20-year aim of the UK Space Agency is to increase the industry to £40 billion and 100,000 jobs, and to represent 10% of worldwide space products and services (increasing from the current 6%). This plan arises from the "Space Innovation and Growth Strategy" (Space-IGS).
Dr David Williams was appointed Acting Chief Executive on the 1 April 2010 and he was confirmed as the first CEO on 1 April 2011. At the ESA Council at Ministerial level in November 2012 the UK budget for space was significantly increased.
Although Space-IGS called for the UK to double European Space Agency (ESA) contributions and to initiate and lead at least three missions between now and 2030, this has not been committed to, with Lord Drayson stating that "We will require a compelling business case for each proposal or mission".
International Space Innovation Centre
Alongside the UK Space Agency, a £40 million "International Space Innovation Centre" (ISIC) (http://www.isic-space.com) has been created at Harwell, Oxfordshire, alongside the research facility for ESA. Some of its tasks will be to investigate climate change, and the security of space systems. £24 million of the cost of the centre will be funded by the government, with the remainder from industry, and it will lead to the creation of 700 jobs over five years. In April 2013, ISIC merged into the newly formed Satellite Applications Catapult.
The UK Space Agency took over the following responsibilities from other government organisations:
- All responsibilities, personnel, and assets of the British National Space Centre
- ESA subscriptions from Natural Environment Research Council, Science and Technology Facilities Council and Technology Strategy Board, including project grants and post-launch support.
- UK elements of the space components of Global Monitoring for Environment and Security, and the Galileo satellite navigation system
- The financial interest in the European Union Satellite Centre (agreed in principle)
- Space technology and instrumentation funding from the Research Councils UK and Technology Strategy Board
- UK Space Agency annual report and accounts 2013 to 2014 (pdf), retrieved 2014-09-25
- "New space agency and new international space centre for UK". BNSC. 23 March 2010.
- Amos, Jonathan (23 March 2010). "'Muscular' UK Space Agency launched". BBC News. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
- UK Space Agency announced
- "The Press Association: UK's space agency to be revealed". UKPA, via Google.com. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
- David Derbyshire (24 March 2010). "British space centre to be revealed ... but will it be called Her Majesty's Space Agency (MASA) | Mail Online". London: Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
- "UK Space Agency launched in London". Telegraph. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
- "Science Minister launches the UK Space Agency". Wired.co.uk. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
- "Oxfordshire to get £40m space centre". BBC. 23 March 2010.
- "News from Council – March 2010". STFC. 26 March 2010.
- Official website
- Lord Drayson (23 March 2010). "UK Space Agency Launch – News and Speeches". (video version)