UK Government Commits £100 Million for New Satellite Facility

HARWELL, UK (UKSA PR) — Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson underlined the government’s commitment to the UK space sector today as he visited the future site of a new £100m [$128 million] state-of-the-art government-funded satellite facility.

  • £99m [$116 million] of government funding for a National Satellite Testing Facility on the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire
  • additional £4m [$5 million] announced for a National Space Propulsion Facility to develop and test space engines
  • space sector forms a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy to spread economic growth across the UK

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Consortium Eyes Scottish Peninsula for Spaceport

The UK is going all cuckoo for Cocao Puffs over spaceports. Everybody seems to want one, raising the possibility the nation will repeat America’s experience of having too many spaceports without enough vehicles to launch from them.

In any event, the latest candidate to surface involves a remote peninsula in the Scottish Highlands.

A consortium that includes Lockheed Martin, the US aerospace firm, believes that the A’Mhoine peninsula, between Dounreay and Cape Wrath, is the best location in Britain for a spaceport facility.

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UK Space Industry Bill Introduced

SWINDON, UK (UKSA PR) — The Space Industry Bill has been introduced into the House of Lords, marking the first step in the process to create new laws and a regulatory framework to enable exciting new technologies to operate safely from the UK.

The Bill, which was outlined in the Queen’s Speech, is a clear signal of the UK’s commitment to enabling commercial spaceflight from UK spaceports, and a key part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy to ensure the UK businesses capture a share of this emerging global market.

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UK Unveils Spaceport Laws


LONDON (Department of Transport PR) — British scientists will be able to fly to the edge of space to conduct vital medical experiments under new powers unveiled this week.

Laws paving the way for spaceports in the UK will allow ‎experiments to be conducted in zero gravity which could help develop medicines.

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Critics Pan UK Government’s Commercial Spaceflight Spending Plan

The British government’s plan to provide £10 million ($12.5 million) in grants “to incentivise the commercial spaceflight market” is seen by proponents as a crucial step in boosting the nation’s space industry. However, it hasn’t gone over well with everyone.

But the government immediately came under fire from Liberal Democrats, who said space travel would only be enjoyed by a ‘handful of extremely wealthy people’.

Jenny Randerson, Liberal Democrat shadow transport secretary said: ‘This £10m shows just how out of touch the Government really are.

‘Only a handful of extremely wealthy people would consider space tourism an option.

‘And while people are struggling with the current infrastructure here on earth the Government should take a reality check.

‘Improving our railways and are roads with this cash would be money much more wisely spent.’

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UK Announces £10 Million in Commercial Space Grants

SWINDON, England (UKSA PR) — Government launches £10 million scheme to incentivise the commercial spaceflight market.

  • Draft legislation to enable spaceflight from the UK by 2020 to be published within weeks
  • The global space market is worth an estimated £25 billion over the next 20 years

Grants worth £10 million are being made available to help develop commercial launch capability for spaceflight, Science Minister Jo Johnson announced today. The funding comes as the government announced the timeline for new legislation which will facilitate and regulate commercial spaceflight.

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exactEarth Awarded Project with UK Space Agency

exactEarth_solid_colorHARWELL, England (exactEarth PR) – exactEarth Europe Limited, a UK subsidiary of exactEarth Ltd (TSX: XCT), the leading provider of Satellite AIS data services, has been awarded a £1.1 million grant from the UK Space Agency (UKSA) under its ‘International Partnerships Programme’ (IPP). The IPP funding will support the operational deployment of exactEarth’s Satellite AIS-based small vessel tracking technology “exactTrax” to improve safety of life at sea (SOLAS) for South Africa’s small boat owners and operators – in particular the artisanal fishing sector. As such exactEarth Europe will be working closely on the project with the ‘South African Maritime Safety Authority’ (SAMSA) and South Africa’s ‘National Sea Rescue Institute’ (NSRI).

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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

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UKSA Calls for Ideas on Implementing National Space Strategy

UK_space_agencySWINDON, UK (UKSA PR) — The Government is working with industry and the science community to develop a new strategy to implement the 2015 National Space Policy.

Space is a fundamental part of Britain’s future. From world-leading science in orbit to innovative satellite technology and services, space helps us grasp our place in the Universe, as well as tackling challenges here on Earth, such as supporting our growing population and understanding our changing planet.

The British space sector is built on partnership and a common vision for the way ahead. We want your ideas on the future of the UK in space so that we, as the UK Space Agency, can continue to grow our space sector, advance our world-leading science, and facilitate opportunities across the country.

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UK Announces £2 Million for Earth Observation Technologies

UK_space_agencySWINDON, UK (UKSA PR) — The UK Space Agency has today unveiled new support to help the UK space and satellite technology sector maintain their leading position in earth observation and help tackle global issues such as deforestation and disaster monitoring. This support includes a new £2m joint programme for UK companies and academia to develop innovative technologies to observe Earth from space. A new online portal will also provide businesses and academics with access to real-time high quality satellite data to help them monitor changes in our planet.

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UK Space Agency Invests in National Propulsion Test Facility

UK_space_agencyFARNSBOROUGH, UK (UKSA PR) — The UK Space Agency is investing £4.12m in a National Propulsion Test Facility, giving the UK a new facility for space technology testing. The facility will allow UK companies and academia to test and develop space propulsion engines. The planned facility will be based at Westcott in Buckinghamshire, with its strong history of rocketry research for defence and space development, building on existing facilities.

The UK Space Agency investment will add new capabilities for the UK space sector. Government funding will:

  • Create a new vacuum facility at the Westcott propulsion test site. When used together with the existing industry owned rocket firing test cells, this will allow the simulation of high altitude testing of thrusters up to 2kN.
  • Upgrade an existing industry owned test chamber to improve capabilities in the 25N thrust range.
  • Open the facilities, alongside a smaller 1N thruster test chamber at the site, for the community to use. The UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), through its RAL Space facility will act as an independent broker for facility access. The European Space Agency (ESA) will be advising and overseeing the initial detailed design phase before a review in the autumn to move to full implementation.

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Reaction Engines Signs ESA Contract

Skylon concept (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Skylon concept (Credit: Reaction Engines)

FARNBOROUGH, UK (Reaction Engines PR) — Reaction Engines Ltd., today announces the signing of a €10m European Space Agency (ESA) contract which will enable the development of a ground based demonstrator of SABRE™, a new class of aerospace engine which is highly scalable with multiple potential applications in hypersonic travel and space access.

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What Will Brexit Do to UK’s Space Program?

UK_space_agencyIt looks like the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union (EU). If Parliament agrees. And the next Prime Minister — who won’t take office until October — respects the vote of  the people last week. And the UK doesn’t have another vote that reverses the decision.

Of course, not all of the United Kingdom might leave. Scotland is talking about having another vote on independence and applying to join the EU as a separate nation. And there is also a movement to united Northern Ireland with Ireland, which is an EU member and does not seem inclined to leave anytime soon.

The departure — which will take at least two years — will not affect the UK’s membership in the European Space Agency (ESA), which is separate from the EU. An independent Scotland would have to join both the EU and ESA. It’s not clear how complex those processes would be at this time.

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British MPs Call for More Robust Space Program

UK_space_agencyHouse of Commons Science and Technology Committee
Press Release

As the countdown to Major Peake’s return to Earth on the 18 June begins, the Commons Science and Technology Committee finds a buoyant UK satellite and space sector, poised for greater economic success. It warns, however, that Major Peake’s Principia mission must be a call to action, and a catalyst to drive the UK’s development of a national space programme and spaceport.
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