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UK launches new space center


March 30, 2010

The new UK Space Agency and Space Center address the industry's rapid growth - currently t...

The new UK Space Agency and Space Center address the industry's rapid growth - currently three times faster than the rest of the economy (Image: Digitally altered from ESA source image)

The UK is getting a new £40 million (US$60 million) International Space Innovation Center (ISIC) as part of the Government’s plans to support Britain’s growing space sector. The announcement came at the launch of the UK's new Space Agency.

Funded through public and industry investment, ISIC will provide a central hub for British space activity, focusing on exploiting data generated by Earth Observation satellites; using space data to better understand and counter climate change; and advise on the security and resilience of space systems and services.

A “sleeper” industry in the UK, the space and satellite industry supports 68,000 jobs and contributes £6 billion (US$9 billion) to the economy. The highly-skilled sector underpins high speed broadband, high definition television, GPS and weather forecasting that the modern world relies on.

UK’s Science and Innovation Minister, Lord Drayson, said: “The UK Space Agency will give the sector the muscle it needs to fulfill its ambition. Britain’s space industry has defied the recession. It can grow to £40 billion a year and create 100,000 jobs in 20 years.”

Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, said: "The £6 billion space industry is one of Britain’s real success stories. Year on year it provides more jobs both directly and indirectly to the UK workforce. This is exactly the kind of high value-added industry we need to support as we re-balance our economy, creating sustainable growth and the jobs of the future."

Science and Innovation Minister, Lord Drayson, said: "The action we’re taking today shows that we’re really serious about space. The UK Space Agency will give the sector the muscle it needs to fulfill its ambition. Britain’s space industry has defied the recession. It can grow to £40bn a year and create 100,000 jobs in 20 years. The Government’s commitments on space will help the sector go from strength to strength."

"The space industry is growing three times faster than the rest of the economy and will make a major contribution to the UK’s future economic success,” said Pam Alexander, Chief Executive at the South East England Development Agency, which leads on the space sector.

The British space industry also intends to develop a National Space Technology Strategy to make sure the space sector delivers its potential, overseen by an industry-led steering group.

A major focus of the center will be to maintain the UK’s leadership position in climate change policy and science. The ISIC also intends to establish a senior-level expert panel to watch emerging space capabilities and implement them in future national security and defense planning and work with industry to set out how space-enabled services can help deliver next generation broadband.

The UK Space Agency will take over responsibility for managing UK interests in EU projects including the space component of GMES, and Galileo. It has also been agreed in principle that the Agency will manage the UK’s financial interest in the EU Satellite Center. The Agency will also negotiate on the UK’s behalf on international bodies.

The new center will co-locate with the European Space Agency.


$60 million? For a space center? That would barely build one medium-sized office building, and a few computers. Seriously? Are you serious about your space programs over there???

31st March, 2010 @ 08:10 pm PDT

SKYLON orbital plane by Reaktion Engines Ltd. is IMHO the very best technical solution and probably the only realistic way of reaching the orbit at a reasonable price point that is in development today. There are some dedicated guys from Rolls Royce who spent decades working towards their dream. If funded it will fulfill ALL the promises that Shuttle made and failed to deliver. SKYLON could really fly on a regular schedule with high turnover, does not expend anything, starts and lands like a regular plane, does not need an army of technicians to check/disassemble/reassemble all of its systems after each flight. There are no crazy O rings ("with safety factor of 3") to burn through or brittle ceramic tiles to fail on each reentry. It is a SSTO vehicle. On reentry it does not heat up to 3000C because it is constructed differently than Shuttle - less of a front heavy stone.

With economies of scale it could come close to payload costs of Space Elevator - w/o all those unproven technologies of a completely new concept. Cheap access to Space is the only reason why you do not have Space Frontier out there with Solar power stations, Space mining. Space material and bio science labs available to every university and Moon tourist resorts. This is what Shuttle promised 30 years ago and FAILED most miserably to deliver. Worse, Shuttle blocks everything else. One Shuttle launch is close to $ one billion should you include all costs. For that price you can move Skylon substantially closer to reality.

Apart from Space Elevator you have all sorts of laser or microwave levitated craft. The latter are even less an option at this point. Expendable rockets perpetuate current stagnation. They make Space a luxury nobody can afford.

Lord Drayson knows what he is doing.

Great news.

31st March, 2010 @ 11:05 pm PDT

If it's UK, then it's a space centre not space center.

Alternatively, may I suggest International Space Innovation Center (*sic*) rather than International Space Innovation Center (ISIC)?

Stanley Rumm
3rd April, 2010 @ 04:30 am PDT

You must be kidding ! $60M is more than sufficient for the UK to cause policy havoc and misinformation warfare across the world's space programs.

26th January, 2012 @ 09:47 am PST
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