The UK has a much stronger space industry than most people realise. That’s what science and innovation minister Lord Drayson said at the launch of the UK Space Agency yesterday in London.
This being Britain, cynics couldn’t resist remarking on the similarity of the new logo (below)
to the old Dad’s Army title sequence arrows, and some uncertainty remains over the pronunciation of the new acronym UKSA (“Uk-sa”, “Uk-sar”?).
The new agency will gradually take over the UK’s space spending (about £230 million, mainly on telecommunications technology), currently devolved to various agencies and government departments. This is one of the recommendations of the Space Innovation and Growth Strategy, published in February, which aims to increase the UK’s share of the global market in space products and services from 6 per cent to 10 per cent in 2030, creating 100,000 jobs at the same time. The UK currently has the fourth largest budget for space research in Europe.
These changes to the way space money is spent could lead to the UK developing its own Earth observation programme (it buys in imagery from foreign suppliers at the moment). Satellite broadband systems could be expanded and improved.
UKSA buyers might not be putting out requests for proposals for space shuttles just yet, but I still reckon the UKSA procurement department is one of the most exciting places to work in the profession over the next decade.