British Space Program Advances with Space Center, ExoMars and Moonlite

The British space program got a major boost this week when European space ministers approved the establishment of the agency’s first research center in the UK. The facility on the Harwell innovation campus in Oxfordshire will focus on climate change and space robotics research.

“It’s important. It shows renewed interest for Britain to be part of ESA, to be involved in space activity; and we welcome that,” Senior ESA executive Daniel Sacotte told BBC News. “It’s a new development in our relationship with this very important member state.”

Meanwhile, British scientists will be going interplanetary with missions to the moon and Mars.

Britain will be playing a major role in ESA’s ExoMars mission. The project will send an orbiter and rover to to the martian surface to study conditions on the planet and prepare for future human exploration.

The nation also will launch its first Moon mission, Moonlite, which will consist of an orbiter that will fire probes into the lunar surface. The probes will analyze the composition of the lunar surface and analyze moon quakes.