In the last two years my Department has held no formal discussions on the development of a UK Space Agency.
A public consultation on the funding and management of UK civil space activities has just closed. Respondents were asked to state whether there is there a case for considering different institutional arrangements for funding and managing UK civil space activities and if so, what possible alternative models might the Government consider.
Officials are considering the responses to the consultation and will report to Lord Drayson this year.
The UK, through the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), participates in the Aurora robotic space exploration programme of the European Space Agency (ESA).
In 2008-09, the UK spent a total of £14.6 million on the programme directly in the UK and through subscription to ESA. In 2009-10 the UK is expected to spend £16.1 million on the programme. Expenditure for 2010-11 is subject to a future decision by STFC.