back to article Blighty's official Space Agency starts up on 1 April

The UK finally acquired an official government space agency last week, with the formal announcement of its operational status issued on April Fools Day. The new and excitingly named UK Space Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Business, Industry and Skills. "The UK space industry is worth an estimated £7.5bn [ …


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  1. Ken 16 Silver badge

    If the Irish Government cares about space as much as it did about banks

    We'd have a space budget 4 times NASA's!

    1. Mike Flugennock

      Irish space budget

      Psst, dude... Liquid-fueled engines don't use whiskey for fuel. They _used_ to use a form of alcohol at one time, but not any more that I know of. You may have been reading old stories about V2 crews' and engnieers' "rocket fuel parties" at Peenemunde, but that was a while back.

  2. CareTaker


    Not the SUKA then?

  3. ravenviz Silver badge

    "NASA has not noticed the UKSA's formation"

    They were all taking coke and plotting the demise of erstwhile lovers.

    1. HFoster

      NASA's link

      NASA's link to the erstwhile BNSC now directs to what appears to be the homepage of UKSA:

  4. Richard 81

    Oh Lewis

    Don't you find it tiring to be so cynical all the time?

  5. Tom Servo

    Lewis, let me guess....

    Based on previous articles, we should be buying American space shuttles?

  6. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Dear Lewis...

    ... why not just Emigrate to the USA?

  7. Colonel Mad


    Apparently it's in Swindon, wherever that is.

  8. Nigel Brown

    There's Klingons on the starboard bow

    Starboard bow

    Starboard bow

    There's Klingons on the starboard bow

    Starboard bow, Dave!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      There's Klingons on the starboard bow / Starboard bow, Dave!

      Dave? Dave?!

      Did you think that song was about Red Dwarf?

  9. Emilio Desalvo

    The ASI...

    ... aka the Italian Space Agency, has a budget running about a billion Euro a year...

    1. John 62

      but where do the euros go?

      Wouldn't mind going to the ASI's Christmas party!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      that calls for

      bunga bunga in space

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Emilio Desalvo

      "... aka the Italian Space Agency, has a budget running about a billion Euro a year..."

      BTW When is Vega due to have it's first launch now?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Hey Lewis...

    ...good idea, less follow the Yanks example of how to run a country. Fuck the NHS off, shit on poor people and spend it on guns and spaceships instead.

    Hold on, maybe, just maybe, we have some tiny priorites right in this county after all.

    1. Mike Flugennock


      Actually -- though I don't have the exact numbers in front of me -- the NASA budget is teensy-schmeensy compared to our "defense" budget; right off the top of my head, istr that the amount the US spends in a year of stomping all over Iraq and Afghanistan could pay for something like half a dozen Shuttle launches. Even in its Apollo glory days, NASA's budget was peanuts compared to the Pentagon. Y'ever notice in Encyclopedia Astronautica, how many listings for canceled Apollo Applications and other projects contain the phrase "due to the escalating cost of the War in Vietnam..."?

      If not for the cash we were flushing down the toilet in Iraq and Afghanistan, we'd have more than enough to pay for healthcare, education, housing, _and_ spaceships -- _lots_ of goddamn' spaceships.

    2. John Hughes

      The US Govt spends more on health per head than the NHS

      Yes, you read that right - the US taxpayer pays more money per head to *NOT* provide universal health care than the UK does for the NHS.

  11. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Holy Trinity ... for Base Universal Power.

    "Unsurprisingly, as this is published NASA has not noticed the UKSA's formation."

    The less the US know of UKSA the better, given what can be done in space and what IT can do in places with command and control of their satellites and information and intelligence.

    And there is no need for anyone to answer that, for that is as much as anyone needs to know about such things unless into launching space missions. Isn't that right, Lewis?

  12. Anonymous Coward

    British space track record

    If any UK businesses out there involved with space think of the Government's track record in getting involved with these things (Black Knight, Black Prince, Black Arrow, Blue Streak, Europa, etc), they'll run a mile and give the new agency about as much credibility as Jedward, Gemini and the Cheeky Girls teaming up for form a new musical supergroup, much in the same vein of the Traveling Wilburys but with certain key differences.

  13. Bassey

    The beginning of the end

    Could it not be that the "surprising sucess" of the UK space agency has been precisely BECAUSE the government has shown little to no interest in it? Now that it is of a sufficient size for them to get involved there is a risk they may end up regulating the crap out of it.

    I don't think anyone would regard the funding of NASA as a model of effectiveness and efficiency!

    1. ravenviz Silver badge

      Funding for NASA

      I don't know, I quite like the X program, I like it that someone's doing it, and not using my tax pounds to pay for it. Anyway I've got a non-stick frying pen in my man drawer somewhere, seemed like a good idea at the time.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


        "I don't know, I quite like the X program, "

        Which one did you have in mind.

        There have been something like 54 X programmes.

        Some have been brilliant X1 crossed the sound barrier, X15 got to the edge of space.

        X33 p**sed $1.1Bn on some parts and did not get built.

        Care to be a little more specific?

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Parasites in Space? .... Oh, I don't think so.

      "Could it not be that the "surprising sucess" of the UK space agency has been precisely BECAUSE the government has shown little to no interest in it? " .... Bassey Posted Monday 4th April 2011 14:53 GMT

      Quite so, Bassey. The last thing any successful venture needs is the government getting involved, for what is their business model, other than to raise taxes and spend foolishly on follies because they are not very bright in politics, at any level, are they, be it local or national or international whenever that modus operandi/vivendi is all that they can come up with, although they are a lot smarter than the stupid taxpayer, who pays them a fortune to live in a style they can only dream of, whilst they dream of other ways to tax and control them with ever more rules and regulations exempting them from censure and accountability.

      The Palace of Westminster is much better understood if one realises that it is more of an asylum or crack house than anything else.

  14. robin48gx

    DOH! How did the politicians find out about something successful

    When the politicians meddle they fuck things up.

    Gordon Brown noticed the wonderful world leading telco industry in

    europe and UK around 2000. What did he do ? Taxed the fuck out of it until it was destroyed.

  15. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    NASA IS a model of effectiveness and efficiency

    Remember Nasa's job is to do tax payer funded R+D for Boeing (sorry support all US large passenger aircraft makers).

    Manage pork barrel contracts with whichever aerospace company has a supportive senator in it's state (or was Houston chosen for it's natural closeness to space?)

    Hide the cost of some military projects

    It does all those very very well, it's crap at space exploration but that's not really important.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Yet Another Anonymous Coward

      "Remember Nasa's job is to do tax payer funded R+D for Boeing "

      They do this for all rocket makers as well. The results of research programmes going back a *century* (to the day of the NACA) are available to all *qualified* US companies.

      "(sorry support all US large passenger aircraft makers)."

      who else is left? Lock-mart is a military con-tractor, as is Northrup-Grumman.

      "Manage pork barrel contracts with whichever aerospace company has a supportive senator in it's state (or was Houston chosen for it's natural closeness to space?)"

      Or anywhere else. The aircraft programme run by Tony Dupont, head of the NASP project was funded *solely* on earmarks from the NASA appropriations bill in California.

      But for *real* pork you need to look at Marshall and *their* local Senator. The reason why in some quarters NASA stands for "North Alabama Space Agency". Latest "triumph" the SLS, a launch vehicle design *mandated* in a public law.

      "It does all those very very well, it's crap at space exploration but that's not really important."

      Well JPL still manages to put landers on moons and other planets and orbiters around them without crashing *too* often.

      But yeah the bureaucracy needs a detox (and large enema) in my opinion.

  16. Tom Cooke

    "Rockets in Ursa Major"

    ... and the headquarters has to be at Mildenhall ;-)

  17. Mike Flugennock

    Oh, wow; you guys missed a bet...

    Why UKSA? Why not Ministry Of Space?

    Shit, man; you guys really missed a chance on that one.

    1. Robert Heffernan

      Potential Confusion?

      Perhaps they didn't want people to confuse the Ministry of Space (MoS) and the Ministry of Silly Walks (MoSW) with the similar acronyms?

    2. Captain DaFt

      Surely you meant...

      (Preemptively grabbing coat)



      Department of



      All of this space stuff could use a bit more discipline!

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

        And once Blighty has a space fleet

        will it have a First Space Lord?

  18. Bobster

    UKSA? Won't get anything off the ground...

    Once Health & Safety get their grubby little mitts on it... probably not allow anything to be launched above 12 metres or something daft like that.

  19. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    A few notes on UK space policy.

    The UK is the *only* country to have developed and then abandoned independent space launch capability.

    It was believed that any those very nice American people would launch any UK government payload on a Scout at minimum cost.

    HMG (or rather the assorted senior civil servants of the time) did not believe there was much money to be made in space.

    A committee composed of an anatomist, an aeronautical engineer, a classicist, a nuclear physicst, an industrial chemist, an ornithologist, a botanist, an agronomist, an electrical engineer, a physical chemist, a medical researcher and 2 mathematicians agreed with them and concluded the UK did not need such a capability.

    In testimony before a House of Commons committee Mark Hempsell of Bristol University made the point that the UK space industry is *smaller* than other European countries because of our specific *avoidance* of any work in launchers. this *might* be changing with the retirement of a whole generation of senior civil servants.

    The UK's only involvement in hardware for the 50+ launches of the Ariane 5 is making the exhaust ducts for the gas generators (Meggit PLC). No doubt due to UK convincing the partners that "You can't get quicker than a Kwik-fit fitter."

    OTOH had the UK had a bigger piece of the pie BAe might have ended up doing a large part of at least 1 of the stages.

    But that would have probably given Europe the "WTF-you-overspent-by-how-much" 5 instead.

    Just a few thougths to bear in mind.

    1. HFoster


      This arse-about-face attitude differs from modern British politics how, exactly?

  20. BozNZ

    10 million quid..

    Would just about pay for the space shuttles toilet.

    1. Mike Flugennock

      re: 10m quid

      ...yeah, but it's a Zero Gravity toilet!

      (Joke Ahead Icon, as I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere)

  21. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Knock, Knock .... a LOVE BetaTest of Britain's Finest

    I suppose we can expect the UKSA to be as successful as the Office of Cyber Security, although there are those who would be able to successfully launch one of those MkUltra secretive type XSSXXXX space missions with seriously super-sensitive overlapping functions, which would put Blighty, or anybody else, for that matter, with a passionate interest and get-up-and-go savvy in the field, way out ahead and leading the competition and opposition in Future Intelligence Direction.

    One does wonder how much simpler must IT be spelt out for spooky intelligence analysts and OSINT listeners, for them and their bosses to discover what puppet regimes are badly lacking and would be suddenly confronted with, in these changed and changing days and grand virtual times?

  22. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    News ?

    Hasn't the UKSA been around for a while already? OK, so in reality it's just the BNSC renamed, but that happened ages ago....

    The recent change is that it's just been assimilated by BIS; which means it will probably fail before it's even really got started :(

    For example they used to have a section where you could find and order their publications. Now all that happens is that you can get lost on the BIS site, and NOT order their publications

  23. quarky

    Imagine if...

    We got rid of some jets, planes, tanks, nukes, and spent just a proportion of the defence budget on space.. The possibilities are tremendous. Isn't it about time a political party picked this up and ran with it?

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