in Aerospace / Space

UKspace welcomes UK Space Agency's €1.4bn funding for ESA

Posted 5 December 2016 · Add Comment

UKspace has welcomed the UK Space Agency's announcement at the Council of Ministers in Lucerne, Switzerland, that more than €1.4 billion will be allocated over the next five years to European Space Agency (ESA) programmes.

Above: Artist's impression of IRIS programme.
Credit: ESA

The UK is a global leader in satellite telecommunications and in the growing commercial applications of space. The UK’s new package of investment at the Council of Ministers includes:

  • €670.5 million investment in satellite technology for UK industry and science, including telecommunications, Earth observation, navigation and satellite services supporting every sector of the economy, including €23 million to build on UK leadership of ESA’s climate change monitoring programme, based at the ECSAT facility in Harwell, Oxford
  • €82.4 million for the next phase of the ExoMars programme, to put a British-built rover on the surface of Mars
  • €71 million for ESA’s International Space Station programme to 2021 and for the future of deep space exploration, building on the legacy of Tim Peake’s Principia mission.

This collaboration and commitment to European science and exploration, satellite technology and services shows that the government recognises the significance and unfolding potential value of the space sector in the UK and its important links with ESA.
Andy Green, President of UKspace and co-Chair of the Space Leadership Council said: “I warmly welcome this substantial investment by the Government in the future of the UK space industry. It is a fantastic vote of confidence and will ensure that the UK can remain at the forefront of the growth of the global space economy. It will enhance UK industrial strengths and leadership in critical capabilities that are vital for the economy.

"This investment will feed directly into UK industries in all key areas of the space sector and will help to position the industry to benefit fully from the Government’s planned Industrial Strategy.  This announcement is a fitting salute to the national mood captivated by the success of the Tim Peake mission, which has enthused so many of our young people to realise the potential role they can play in science and technology.”

Universities and Science Minister, Jo Johnson said: "From Tim Peake’s Principia mission to the launch of four Galileo satellites in November, this year has shown the value of the UK’s contribution to the European space sector.

"This investment of €1.4 bn includes unprecedented leadership of Europe’s study of our changing planet and continued support for the ISS to secure great opportunities for astronauts, scientists and industry over the life of the station.

"We are committed to ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of new technologies, science and daring space exploration. Our sustained investment – alongside our upcoming Industrial Strategy – will ensure we build on the strengths of the UK’s growing space industry."

Katherine Courtney, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: "This significant investment shows how the UK continues to build on the capability of the UK space sector and demonstrates our continuing strong commitment to our membership in the European Space Agency. We are pleased that the European Space Agency will continue to develop its presence in the UK, strengthening its capabilities at the ECSAT facility at Harwell and the collaboration opportunities available to commercial partners in the telecommunications and applications programmes."

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