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UK Space Policy and UK Capabilities in space. Keith Mason. April 2012. Golden Jubilee of the UK in space. 2 day conference and celebration to mark 50 th anniversary of launch of first UK space science mission, Ariel 1

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Uk space policy and uk capabilities in space

UK Space Policy and

UK Capabilities in space

Keith Mason

April 2012

Golden jubilee of the uk in space
Golden Jubilee of the UK in space

2 day conference and celebration to mark 50th anniversary of launch of first UK space science mission, Ariel 1

Science Museum 26-27th April 2012

Info on our web site or at

  • Today, the UK is a major user of space and a provider of space technology to the world

Uk space policy and uk capabilities in space

A dynamic space programme

the UK Space Agency is responsible for ensuring that the UK retains and grows a strategic capability in space-based systems, technologies, science and applications

Uk space agency in context
UK Space Agency in Context

Agency partners

(TSB, research councils, MoD…)


Space Innovation

Centre Ltd.



RAL Space:

Including existing facilities

EU space programme

ESA Business Incubator

creating new space businesses

Harwell Oxford Space Cluster

Co-located universities and industry

Supporting and exploiting the campus environment

International Space Agencies

  • ESA Centre

  • Applications

  • Climate Change

  • Exploration

Industry, universities and research organisations

Harwell Oxford

Growth strategy

Growth Strategy

  • Growth through

  • exports

  • Science as an

  • enabler of growth

  • Growth through

  • exploiting

  • new opportunities

  • Education

  • for growth

  • Growth through smarter government

An example of our approach

Hylas-1 mission to deliver broadband internet services via satellite

~$50M government technology investment to create Ka-band satellite technology

Underpins a new UK company Avanti Communications (market capitalisation ~$600M)

Operational from April 2011

An example of our approach

Uk large telecoms satellites
UK Large Telecoms satellites satellite

technology supported by the UK Space Agency (and its predecessors) has enabled….

Skynet 5A,B,C,D for Paradigm Secure Communications

Alphasat (Inmarsat-XL): UK payload and equipment technology for the first use of the Alphabus large platform;

ASTRA 2E, ASTRA 2F, ASTRA 2G and ASTRA 5B: four satellite order placed by SES Astra in November 2009 worth over 500M€

KaSat: Europe's first large all Ka-Band multi-spotbeam broadband satellite;

Express AM4: Europe's most powerful commercial telecom satellite and the first European prime program sold to Russia;

Uk space policy and uk capabilities in space

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL’s) new GMP-T satellite(Geostationary Minisatellite Platform) is in an advanced stage of development

Platform weighs 2.8 tonnes at launch

UK small telecom satellites

SSTL’s Geo platform Development

Navigation galileo in 2012
Navigation - Galileo in 2012 satellite

Europe’s Satellite Navigation Constellation, under European civilian control and offering high precision and high reliability for safety of-life critical applications

Two test satellites launched :

Giove-A (2005) built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.

Giove-B (2008) uses navigation payload built by EADS Astrium Ltd in the UK

100% successful in orbit

Four In-orbit verification (IOV) satellites built by EADS Astrium

2 launched in 2011 on first Soyuz from Kourou,

2 more are due for launch 2012

Full system (FOC) to become operational in next decade. SSTL have secured 236M€ contract for the first 14 payloads from German company OHB

Other UK companies involved in the development and supply of the Galileo system, including BT, Logica, QinetiQ, Vega, Inmarsat, Thales and SciSys

Uk space policy and uk capabilities in space

ESA: five operational Earth science missions. satellite


PROBA 1 multispectral imaging

GOCE gravity and ocean circulation mission uses UK-built ion propulsion system

SMOS soil moisture and ocean salinity mission

Cryosat 2 Polar ice sheet measurements

All carry UK instruments or use UK technology to help understand the interior, land, oceans, atmosphere and climate of our home world

Earth observation science in 2012



Further missions are under development:

  • SWARM (2012) magnetic field constellation: UK has built the three platforms using advanced carbon-fibre structures

  • Aeolus: (2014) UK is prime contractor of this Doppler wind lidar mission

  • EarthCARE (2015): atmospheric science mission with major UK instrument and spacecraft involvement

Uk space policy and uk capabilities in space

UK Space Science in 2012 satellite

Space science and exploration is at the heart of the UK Space Agency’s programme

  • 15 operational missions; 6 projects under development

  • world-renowned research in astronomy & space science

  • Eight university groups, Two national laboratories, >50 industrial companies

Advancingscience by creating new knowledge & inspiring us to achieve

Drivinginnovation and growth - new technologies, data analysis techniques and applications, supporting a competitive industry and through training and inspiration

Long term planning allows UK to play a key role in new missions e.g. Solar Orbiter and Euclid

  • By the end of decade Gaia, LISA Pathfinder. BepiColombo, JWST and the first 2 ‘Medium’ class missions in Cosmic Vision will be launched

Space exploration in 2012

UK deeply involved in preparation of future of Mars robotic exploration with ESA and Roscosmos

Main focus of UK exploration investment is Mars rover instrumentation and technologies

Mars Sample Return as long term goal

UK is largest contributor to ESA Mars Robotic Exploration Programme and Second largest contributor to ExoMars

Space Exploration in 2012

Future launch vehicles

Reaction Engines Ltd ‘Skylon’ spaceplane and ‘SABRE’ air-breathing rocket engine

12 tonnes to LEO (6 tonnes to GTO)

Phase 2 (heat exchanger demonstration) 2012

Phase 3 (complete engine demonstration) 2014

First Flight – 2020

Service entry - 2025

Future Launch Vehicles

Uk space policy and uk capabilities in space

UK Space Agency air-breathing rocket engine

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