UK Space Agency Allocates 1.4 Billion Euros to ESA Budget

UK_space_agencySWINDON, England (UKSA PR) — UK Space Agency allocates more than €1.4 billion over the next five years to European Space Agency programmes at the Council of Ministers in Lucerne, Switzerland.

  • €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

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.”

The UK’s new package of investment at the Council of Ministers includes:

€82.4 million for the final phase of the ExoMars programme, leading up to launch in 2020

ESA's ExoMars rover. (Courtesy of ESA)
ESA’s ExoMars rover. (Courtesy of ESA)

The next phase of ESA’s ExoMars programme will be a British-built rover to answer the question of whether life has ever existed on Mars. The UK investment – part of a €400 million euro package at the Ministerial meeting – insures the second phase of ExoMars will go ahead for launch in 2020. ExoMars will be the first non-US rover to the Martian surface to drill, collect and analyse samples.

€670.5 million for the development of satellite technologies and services

Artist's impression of IRIS program. (Credit: ESA).
Artist’s impression of IRIS program. (Credit: ESA).

The UK is a global leader in satellite telecommunications, and in the growing commercial applications of space. This investment also secures the leadership of ESA’s climate monitoring and services.

The new investment includes:

  • €319 million worth of telecommunications partnership projects with industry through ARTES, including partnerships with businesses on innovative telecoms services. These include:
    • €60 million for developing the commercial use of space data through Integrated Applications. UK Space Agency funding will connect businesses across the economy with solutions for common problems that could benefit from the unique vantage point of space. UK companies have used IAP funding to develop telemedicine services to aircraft, to advise farmers on crop fertilization, and to guide energy providers to target waste collection in communities
    • €31 million for IRIS, which uses satellite communications to enable safer air traffic control across Europe while reducing CO2 emissions and airline costs;
    • €38.5 million for ICE, which focuses on the supply chain for next-generation satellite services, including the internet of things (for example enabling machines in shipping containers so that they update their status and location via satellite.)
  • €288.8 million secured UK leadership of environmental science, applications and climate services through the ESA’s Earth observation programme. This programme will develop the next generation of technology and satellites to measure our changing Earth, including monitoring climate change, oceans, atmosphere, water cycle, and land. This includes:
    • €10 million for Incubed – a new programme to help industry develop the Earth observation satellite technology for commercial markets
    • funding for the Biomass mission to measure the carbon stored in the world’s forests; and
    • the Aeolus mission, measuring wind speed in three dimensions from space, which could revolutionise meteorological services
    • the development of new technologies for missions and data management infrastructure
    • investment in fundamental technology €35 million to keep the UK space industry competitive in the global market
    • €30 million for a new navigation technology and services programme to position UK industry to compete strongly in what could become a €30bn European market.
    • the European Centre for Satellite Applications and Telecommunications at Harwell will be the focus for commercial services and applications involving space data. This will mean increased collaboration opportunities for industry through the UK Space Gateway at Harwell and more high-tech jobs in the UK.

€376.4 million for mandatory science programmes, helping us understand our place in the Universe

Being a part of ESA’s space science programmes means that the UK will continue to be at the forefront of ground-breaking science and space research, with missions due to launch in the next five years, including the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to Hubble.

€41 million for the International Space Station programme and microgravity science, as well as €29 million for next phase of deep space exploration

International Space Station (Credit: NASA)
International Space Station (Credit: NASA)

The UK Space Agency has committed funds to build on the legacy of Tim Peake’s Principia mission to the ISS, and to continue to develop the research potential for science in orbit on-board the ISS. This announcement ensures the UK’s participation in the programme through 2024, creating future opportunities for ESA astronaut flights to the ISS. Meanwhile, the ExPeRT programme will scope a deep-space space station and including the UK’s first science instrument to land on the Moon.

€22 million for innovative space weather missions, monitoring solar activity

Through the ESA Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme, the UK will develop the technology needed to realise a vision for a space weather mission to L5, contributing to the global effort to mitigate the risk on our national risk register from space weather.

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.”