Launch of the new UK Space Agency
The government has formally launched a new agency to co-ordinate the UK's contribution to the space science industry. Not surprisingly, the new organisation will be known as the UK Space Agency.
Previously, most UK space activities were handled by a loose partnership of government departments and research councils; but with the rise of national space agencies around the world, particularly in China and India, it was decided to create a dedicated body to maintain and hopefully improve our involvement within the global space industry.
Although it may not seem so at times, the UK is actually a major player in the space, robotics and satellite sector, and has seen growth of around 9% each year since 2000 - more than three times faster than the economy as a whole.
Our current involvement contributes £6.5 billion a year to the UK economy and supports 68,000 jobs. In terms of global space science, Britain is second only to the United States.