Welcome to the UK Space Agency's News and Events pages.
Please select a news release from our latest news section or visit our events calendar relating to space activities in the UK and overseas.
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18 Jul 2012
The latest weather satellite in Europe’s highly successful Meteosat second-generation series has been successfully launched and manoeuvred into geostationary orbit by the European Space Agency. Once fully operational it will ensure that Europe and Africa continue to receive up-to-date weather coverage. MSG-3 is especially valuable in rapid detection and warning of extreme weather situations.
17 Jul 2012
European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut of British nationality Tim Peake is encouraging school children to get fit and stay active at the Farnborough International Airshow this week. Budding young astronauts aged 8 to 13 from across the UK are invited to take part in the international challenge Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut – a programme to encourage school students to focus more on fitness and nutrition.
16 Jul 2012
A packed programme of space events was held at the Farnborough International Airshow 2012. The space and aerospace community and the public turned out in force to the Space Zone for a programme of conferences, meetings and workshops. This has acted as the backdrop to the UK Space Agency news that the UK space sector contributed £9.1B to the economy for the 2010/2011 period as well as a number of other exciting announcements from the UK Space Agency and partner organisations throughout the week.
16 Jul 2012
On 13 July, ESA Member States unanimously approved the accession of Poland to the ESA Convention. ESA’s Director General is now mandated to sign the Accession Agreement together with the Minister of Economy of Poland, Mr Waldemar Pawlak.
12 Jul 2012
The UK Space Agency this week revealed the figures from its latest report on the ‘Size and Health of the UK Space Sector’. The Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, announced at the Farnborough International Airshow that the total contribution of the space sector to the UK economy was £9.1B for 2010/2011. With an average annual growth rate of 7.5%, the continued contribution of space to the economy is a remarkable success in the current conditions.
11 Jul 2012
The ‘Civil Space Strategy’ setting out the direction for the UK space sector over the next four years was published Tuesday 10th July at the Farnborough International Airshow. The Strategy sets out the UK Space Agency’s framework supporting the growth of the sector over the next four years.
11 Jul 2012
Phil Herridge appointed deputy chair of Working Group 1 on Measurements of the IADC.
4 Jul 2012
The UK Space Agency is seeking two new members to join its Aurora Advisory Committee. The Committee is responsible for advising the Agency on matters relating to the Aurora space exploration programme and meets four times a year. The next meeting is scheduled for September 2012.
3 Jul 2012
Pléiades 1A, the first European very high resolution satellite has captured this image of the Olympic Stadium in Kiev where Spain beat Italy in the final of Euro 2012 football championship.
3 Jul 2012
The first images of an upward surge of the Sun’s gases into quiescent coronal loops have been identified by an international team of scientists led by the UK. The discovery is one more step towards understanding the origins of extreme space storms, which can destroy satellite communications and damage power grids on Earth.
27 Jun 2012
British schoolboy Navonil Neogi won third place in the prestigious NASA Ames Space Settlement Design Contest. His design was selected from 474 submissions from over a thousand students from around the world.
26 Jun 2012
ESA challenged a top engineering team to devise a way for rovers to navigate on alien planets. After just six months a fully autonomous vehicle was charting its course through Chile’s Mars-like Atacama Desert.
26 Jun 2012
Last week British ESA astronaut Tim Peake completed his underwater NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) training. He emerged from the Aquarius 20m underwater base off the coast of Florida where he and the team of aquanauts had spent 10 days living and working.
21 Jun 2012
Inspired teams seeking a place to collaborate need look no further. The UK Space Agency is calling forward multi-disciplinary, multi-organisational groups for the Space Collaborative Innovation Team Initiative (Space CITI). Successful teams with innovative ideas will be provided with up to £0.5M funding and world class facilities to call home.
21 Jun 2012
UK teams working on the mission to study the “dark Universe” are being granted a planned £8.5M by the UK Space Agency to develop scientific instruments. This is following the formal adoption of the largest collaboration of astronomers in the world by the European Space Agency (ESA) to help build the Euclid satellite.
20 Jun 2012
The UK Space Agency has announced a planned £11.5M investment for the scientific payloads for Solar Orbiter - the first medium (M-class) mission in the European Space Agency's (ESA) Cosmic Vision programme. The funding is being shared between British institutions for the development of four of the mission’s instruments to study the Sun.
19 Jun 2012
Located in the constellation Ursa Major at a distance of about 12 million light-years, it is the nearest and one of the most active starburst galaxies. This means it shows an exceptionally high rate of star formation. The gravitational interaction between M82 its neighbour, the spiral galaxy Messier 81, is the most probable cause for the violent starburst activity in its circumnuclear region.
11 Jun 2012
While we may have had a cloudy view of the transit of Venus from the UK, the international Sun-watching spacecraft Hinode by-passed the cloud at an altitude of 600km and caught this stunning view of Venus entering the solar disc on 05 June.
7 Jun 2012
“UK Research & Education for Space & Terrestrial Benefit”
6 Jun 2012
The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced that in June 2012 it intends to release in an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) inviting the broad scientific community to propose instruments to be flown onboard the Jupiter Icy moons Explorer spacecraft.
1 Jun 2012
Tests on ‘green’ propellants for space propulsion, the demonstration of pultruded manufacturing of spacecraft components and a feasibility study into the use of Europe’s new radioisotope power systems for space are among the ten winners in the UK Space Agency’s latest competition within the National Space Technology Programme (NSTP).
1 Jun 2012
This week, to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee our Image of the Week shows Buckingham Palace (centre left) captured by NigeriaSat-2 on 30th March 2012. It is a reminder of how far space technologies have come since the start of her reign.
31 May 2012
The UK Space Agency has issued a consultation seeking views of stakeholders on proposed changes to the Outer Space Act 1986. This is in response to the Government Growth Review published in March 2011. In which the Government set out its wish to reform the Outer Space Act 1986 by introducing an upper limit on liability for UK operators.
28 May 2012
These shape-shifting galaxies have taken on the form of a giant mask. The icy blue eyes are actually the cores of two merging galaxies, called NGC 2207 and IC 2163, and the mask is their spiral arms.
15 May 2012
The ESA delegation, lead by Dr Gunther Kohlhammer (Head of ESA EO Ground Segments & Mission Operations) and including Pier Bargellini (Head of GMES Mission Management & GS Development) and Guenther Landgraf (Head of Infrastructure & Engineering), was welcomed to ISIC by members of the UK Space Agency (UKSA) Ground Segment Team. In close collaboration with ISIC staff and representatives from academia and industry, UKSA had developed an intensive agenda that fostered a good opportunity for the exchange of information and detailed discussions about ground segment issues. On Monday, the ESA representatives were given an overview of ISIC and its scope and objectives, followed by a tour of the facilities, including the Mission Operations Centre, the SRU and the Visualisation Suite. Particular emphasis was given to CEMS, given its innovative concept, its relevance to supporting the excellence of the UK climate community and its cloud computing technology, which is of growing interest to ESA. The Satellite Applications Catapult centre, and the Calibration Centre for Satellite Instrumentation (CCSI) were also presented. The final presentation of the day was given by UKSA where the proposal for the UK GMES Ground Segment Collaborative Centre was discussed in detail.
14 May 2012
UKube-1, the programme to launch the UK Space Agency’s first Cubesat mission, has reached an important milestone. Two payloads have now undergone pre-integration testing at Clyde Space’s facilities in Glasgow.
11 May 2012
The UK Space Agency has announced nine funding awards, totalling £2M, for science associated with Mars exploration. This scheme will enhance the UK’s science capabilities; help us to understand the Martian environment and to search for traces of past and present life.
11 May 2012
Angel-Lee Richardson the winner of our Wiltshire wide Holiday Card competition received a visit from UK Space Agency staff at Haydon Wick Primary School in Swindon. Angel and her classmates got to pick up and learn about moon rocks and meteorites in a special presentation.
11 May 2012
Following the unexpected loss of contact with Envisat on 08 April 2012 the European Space Agency (ESA) has spent the last month trying to re-establish communication. They have now declared the end of the mission that has been informing our understanding of the planet for a decade.
10 May 2012
Astronomers, using the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Herschel Space Observatory, have shown that the number of stars that form during the early lives of galaxies may be influenced by the massive black holes at their hearts. This helps explain the link between the size of the central bulges of galaxies and the mass of their central black holes.
9 May 2012
After more than ten years of work by more than 200 engineers, the Mid InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), a camera so sensitive it could see a candle on one of Jupiter’s moons, has been declared ready for delivery by the European Space Agency and NASA. The MIRI Optical System, an instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) that will eventually take up a position four times further away from the Earth than the Moon. It will now be shipped to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center where it will be integrated with the other three instruments and the telescope.
4 May 2012
The UK’s Alpha team from Bearsden Academy in Glasgow were awarded first place in the second European CanSat Competition. 14 secondary school teams participated in the competition from different ESA member states at the Andøya Rocket Range in Norway.
3 May 2012
Jupiter’s icy moons are the focus of Europe’s next large science mission, as ESA announces the next of its L-class missions.
1 May 2012
Budding astronauts from across the world landed in London last week for the closing event of Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut. The UK Space Agency hosted the international visitors for three days of space, fitness and nutrition educational activities from 26-28 April.
26 Apr 2012
UK company Astrium has been selected by the European Space Agency as the prime contractor for the Solar Orbiter mission that will perform close-up observations of the Sun. The €300 million contract was signed on the anniversary of the launch of Ariel-1 as part of the celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the UK in Space held by the UK Space Agency at the Science Museum, London on 26 April.
26 Apr 2012
The UK is celebrating 50 years since it joined the exclusive ranks of space faring nations. On 26 April 1962 Ariel-1, the first satellite to be designed and operated by the UK, was launched.
25 Apr 2012
After nearly a year and a half of operations, CryoSat has yielded its first seasonal variation map of Arctic sea-ice thickness. Results from ESA’s ice mission were presented at the Royal Society in London.
25 Apr 2012
Strange objects that are half a mile long and leave glittering trails behind them have been discovered punching through part of Saturn’s F ring, one of the more recently discovered rings around Saturn. The objects, termed ‘mini-jets’, were found by scientists from Queen Mary University of London as they were working with images from NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft. They fill a missing hole in our understanding of the curious behaviour of the F ring. The results are being presented at the European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna (24 April 2012).
18 Apr 2012
ESA astronaut, Timothy Peake, will dive to the bottom of the sea to learn more about exploring space. A permanent underwater base almost 20 m below the waves off the coast of Florida will be Tim’s home for more than a week.
18 Apr 2012
On his recent trip to Japan, David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science signed an agreement with the Japanese Economy Minister, Motohisa Furukawa for greater collaboration on space.
16 Apr 2012
In March 2012, the international Cassini spacecraft was on its way to its lowest pass yet over the south polar region of Saturn’s moon Enceladus when it took this image of the impressive plumes.
12 Apr 2012
Astronomers using ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory have studied a ring of dust around the nearby star Fomalhaut and have deduced that it is created by the collision of thousands of comets every day.
9 Apr 2012
When the Titanic entered the iceberg infested waters 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland in April 1912 a number of factors contributed towards making this the tragedy that has made the name of the cruise ship infamous.
4 Apr 2012
Observations by two of the European Space Agency's space observatories have provided a multi-wavelength view of the mysterious galaxy Centaurus A.
3 Apr 2012
As part of the National Space Technology Programme, the Government is to grant nearly £6 million to co-fund major new British research that will develop commercial products and services using space technology and data from space-based systems.
2 Apr 2012
Just over a month ago the images we were seeing of the British Isles were cloud covered and snowy. Here we have a very rare image showing most of Europe remarkably free from cloud cover.
2 Apr 2012
The 2012 European Satellite Navigation Competition (ENSC) launches to the UK public to find the home-grown ideas that will drive innovation in the space sector and the everyday application of its data in technologies like smart phone apps and location-based services.
29 Mar 2012
Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut 2012 has come back down to Earth after two months ‘in space’. This health and fitness challenge has seen 38 British schools compete nationally and internationally to be the first school to ‘walk to the moon’.
28 Mar 2012
The UK Space Agency is taking a prominent role in the European Commission’s programme to prepare UK Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS) Users for the PRS Initial Operational Capability (IOC). The UK Space Agency, as the Competent PRS Authority (CPA), intends to establish a secure platform that will enable PRS access management.
26 Mar 2012
The Sun put on a two and a half day show for the STEREO mission to investigate Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). All sorts of pieces of the sun’s outer atmosphere were flung into space and captured in this image in extreme ultraviolet light.