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UK to Establish Space Agency

Follows Opening of ESA Center and Appointment of British Astronaut

UK to Establish Space Agency The United Kingdom has announced plans to establish a space agency to coordinate its dealings with international partners, primarily with the European Space Agency (ESA). According to the BBC, the UK spends about $438 million on space and the nation's space-related revenues are approximately $10.6 billion.

The UK currently makes space policy decisions through a civil service unit, the British National Space Centre (BNSC), which comprises government departments and research councils with interests in space science or space services. The current structure, according to the BBC, "made it hard for the UK to adopt coherent positions on big international programs." The new structure is expected to drive cooperation among space-user groups.

In 2009, ESA opened a technical center in Britain and elected its first British astronaut, Major Tim Peake. The UK was also involved with both the Herschel and Planck telescope launches.

A competition will be held to select a name and a logo for the agency.

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