The centre, to be sited with the European Space Agency facility, which opened at Harwell, Oxfordshire last July, will provide a central hub for British space activity. It will be funded through public and industry investment, with a brief to exploit the data generated by Earth Observation satellites, and advise on the security and resilience of space systems and services.
The centre will be backed by further measures to support the space industry including:
launch of the UK Space Agency on 1 April, bringing all civil space activities under one single management;
the development of a National Space Technology Strategy overseen by an industry-led steering group;
the formation of a senior-level expert panel to take a view of emerging space capabilities;
working with industry to set out how space-enabled services can help deliver next generation broadband.
The UK Space Agency will take over responsibility for policy and government budgets for space, starting with subscriptions to the European Space Agency, which come from three separate sources at present. It will also be responsible for managing UK interests in EU projects including Galileo. It has also been agreed in principle that the Agency will manage the UK’s financial interest in the EU Satellite Centre, which is currently the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence.
In addition, the Agency will also begin to take over responsibility for space funding for technology and instruments, currently carried out by the Research Councils and the Technology Strategy Board.