Spotlight: UK Space Agency – a brief history

18th Apr 2020
Spotlight: UK Space Agency – a brief history

The UK Space Agency has grown into a critical part of helping the United Kingdom dominate the space industry. After starting out with Ariel-1, the industry has come a long way in the last 50 years to now offering Solar Orbiter, which was launched in 2017. The Solar Orbiter will be a unique mission since it will go very close to the Sun – even closer than mercury. It is a sign of the remarkable progress that the nation has made in technology into universe exploration.

The UK Space Agency was founded as a replacement for the British National Space Centre. The organization may have been formed just over a decade ago, but UK’s investments in the European Space Agency continued to dictate matters.


A huge reason behind the creation of the UK Space Agency is to act as an alternative to the ESA once Britain comes out of the European Union. As of now, this industry in the United Kingdom has a valuation of around £9 billion, and it employs about 68,000 people.

The plan for the new organization is to increase the valuation to approximately £40 billion in the next two decades while also employing close to 100,000 individuals. This would represent a 10% contribution to the global industry. The accelerated exit from the European Union is expected to increase the budget allocation, which was quite moderate at around £300 million a few years ago.The increased budget has already been felt in several facilities that are being launched around the country.

The likes of the Cornwall Spaceport will be helping the new organization to come up with more horizontal launch capabilities. There are plenty of destinations in the UK that can serve as launch hubs, and they will be a crucial part of the UK Space Agency going forward.

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