UK Space Agency

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UK Space Agency
Official logo of the UK Space Agency
Abbreviation UKSA
Formation 1 April 2010
Legal status Executive agency of Her Majesty's Government
Headquarters Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN2 1SZ
Region served
United Kingdom
Leader The Rt Hon. Greg Clark MP
Minister of State for Universities, Science & Cities
Chief Executive
Dr David Parker
Parent organization
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
£322.6 million (2013/2014)[1]

The United Kingdom Space Agency (commonly known as the UK Space Agency or 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 (BNSC) and took over responsibility for government policy and key budgets for space exploration,[2][3] and represents the United Kingdom in all negotiations on space matters.[4][5] It "[brings] together all UK civil space activities under one single management".[2] It is initially operating from the existing BNSC headquarters in Swindon, Wiltshire.[4][6][7][8]

Creation and aims

The establishment of the UK Space Agency was announced by Lord Mandelson, Lord Drayson and astronaut Major Timothy Peake at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on 23 March 2010.

Around £230 million of funding and management functions were merged into the UK Space Agency from other organisations.[4] "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.[9]

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,[2] 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).[4]

Dr David Williams was appointed Acting Chief Executive on 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".[4]

International Space Innovation Centre

Alongside the UK Space Agency, a £40 million "International Space Innovation Centre" (ISIC) ( has been created at Harwell, Oxfordshire,[2] 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.[10] In April 2013, ISIC merged into the newly formed Satellite Applications Catapult.

Transfer of authority

The UK Space Agency took over the following responsibilities from other government organisations:

See also


  1. UK Space Agency annual report and accounts 2013 to 2014 (pdf), retrieved 2014-09-25<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 "New space agency and new international space centre for UK". BNSC. 23 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "The United Kingdom Space Agency (Transfer of Property etc.) Order 2011". National Archives, via Retrieved 15 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Amos, Jonathan (23 March 2010). "'Muscular' UK Space Agency launched". BBC News. Retrieved 23 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. UK Space Agency announced
  6. "The Press Association: UK's space agency to be revealed". UKPA, via Retrieved 23 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 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: Retrieved 23 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "UK Space Agency launched in London". Telegraph. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Science Minister launches the UK Space Agency". Retrieved 23 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Oxfordshire to get £40m space centre". BBC. 23 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "News from Council – March 2010". STFC. 26 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Video clips