UK invests in ESA programmes

Posted on 12 Dec 2019 and read 672 times
UK invests in ESA programmesAt the end of November, the UK Space Agency announced that it will spend £374 million per year with the European Space Agency (ESA) ( to deliver international space programmes over the next five years.

The UK is one of the founding members of ESA, an inter-governmental organisation established in 1975 to promote co-operation in space research, technology and applications development.

ESA is independent of the EU, bringing together countries from Europe and around the world.

Membership enables the UK to collaborate with space agencies globally on projects like the International Space Station and the ExoMars programme (sending a UK-built rover to search for signs of life on Mars).

This investment will secure UK involvement in international space missions and the development of new technologies, including: building the Lunar Gateway (pictured), a new space station orbiting the moon; returning the first samples from Mars; new satellites to help us understand climate change; an early warning system for solar storms; research in space technology to deliver high-speed mobile technology such as 5G and satellite broadband services around the world; and removing space junk to prevent collisions in space.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “We are delighted to be making this investment in ESA.

“From improving communication and connectivity to helping us monitor the impact of climate change and protect our power grid, our membership of this international organisation will further our position as a space, innovation and climate super-power.”

The UK has also committed to investing over £200 million in Earth observation, including: a UK-led ‘TRUTHS mission’ to help tackle climate change; and the ‘ESA Copernicus Space Component’, which runs to 2028.

The UK is now spending an average of almost £95 million per year to support telecommunications research and £80 million per year supporting Earth observation and climate science projects.

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