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UK Space Agency launched

PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:11 pm
by RickLewis ... ondon.html

UK Space Agency launched in London

Britain's own space agency has been launched, represented by the Union Flag morphed into a soaring arrow.

Published: 1:48PM GMT 23 Mar 2010
The UK Space Agency, as it is officially named, took off with the help of British astronaut Major Timothy Peake.

But the accent at the launch in London was on the dry realities of economics rather than Dan Dare.

Lord Mandelson was on hand to keep proceedings firmly grounded, despite the Science Minister Lord Drayson confessing that he would ''like to see human beings living on Mars''.

The Business Secretary said: ''I think it is important to remember that although it is cutting edge, this stuff is not sci-fi. It may start in space, but it comes down to Earth very quickly and is directly relevant to all our daily lives.''

Britain's mini-version of Nasa will take overall responsibility for UK space activities, replacing the soon-to-be defunct British National Space Centre (BNSC).

Operating initially from the BNSC's headquarters in Swindon, it will for the first time allow all aspects of civilian space policy to be handled ''under one roof''.

At present, space is the responsibility of a loose partnership of Government departments and research councils.

It is hoped the new agency will help Britain become more competitive in the global space economy, and make the most of the areas it excels in such as satellites, telecommunications and robotics.
The recession-defying industry already contributes around £6 billion a year to the economy and supports 68,000 jobs directly and indirectly.

Over the next 20 years it has the potential to grow to a £40 billion industry and create 100,000 jobs, said Lord Drayson.

''The action we're taking today shows that we're really serious about space,'' he said. ''The UK Space Agency will give the sector the muscle it needs to fulfil its ambition.''

Major Peake, a test pilot in the Army Air Corps, had the job of starting a countdown to unveiling the space agency's ''flying arrow'' logo, displayed on a large screen at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre.
The astronaut is currently undergoing training in Russia prior to flying on missions to the International Space Centre.

He was one of six Astronaut Corps recruits chosen by the European Space Agency last year, and is Britain's first ''home grown'' astronaut.

Maj Peake, who normally flies Apache attack helicopters, described the establishment of the UK Space Agency as ''a very positive move''.

He added: ''I think it recognises the huge success story that the British space industry has been and sets the scene for us to take that success into the future.

''Britain has an enormous amount of talent in areas such as telecommunications and robots.
''It's extremely important that we do try to encourage our younger generations to take up these sorts of careers, and today goes a long way towards achieving this.''

Germany, France and Italy also run their own space agencies as well as having ESA membership.
The UK Space Agency will officially begin operations on April 1.

Its launch coincided with the creation of a new £40 million centre of "space excellence" at Harwell, Oxfordshire.

The International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC), funded by public and private investment, is supported by a £12 million grant from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Bis).

It will work alongside the UK Space Agency to act as the "hub" of Britain's space interests, encouraging research and development, business incubation, and the creation of intellectual property.

The Space Innovation and Growth Team (Space IGT), a collaboration of industry chiefs, government representatives and academic experts, welcomed today's developments.

A statement from the group said: "Space is a truly global business and without appropriate support, the national interest is difficult to protect.

"It is hoped that the UK Space Agency will have the powers necessary to ensure our domestic industry realises its full potential on the world stage.

Re: UK Space Agency launched

PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:15 pm
by RickLewis
More coverage of this story, this time from the BBC:

The BBC says the new agency officially starts work on April 1. (Wouldn't ya know it?)

The UK Space Agency logo was also unveiled at the launch event:


Re: UK Space Agency launched

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:11 am
by Darth Kevin
Hey, I thought this forum was dead! Not much activity for a while. I'm happy to see signs of life.

Congratulations to the UK on having a "real" space agency. Have to admit I'm not totally clear about the difference between this and the BNSC, which I thought was the British space agency. Is this just re-branding the existing organisation?

Well, if it means a higher profile and more money for UK space projects that has to be good.

Re: UK Space Agency launched

PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 2:38 am
by RickLewis
I have to admit that I'm not 100% sure what the difference is between the UK Space Agency and the old BNSC, though I'm assured that they are quite separate organisations. Ah well, time will tell.

I see that the UK Space Agency now has a website:

Re: UK Space Agency launched

PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 9:38 pm
by Darth Kevin
The website is okay, but it has a big banner across the homepage that says:

"Content on this site is under review following the formation of the new government."

After what happened after the election of Obama's administration, I can relate to that. :lol: