The UK government has changed how it looks after its embryonic space activity. It has decided to remove responsibility for the development of rocket sites, space policy and strategy from the UK Space Agency and to bring the controls and supervision into its Department for Business.
The move may be unconnected but the Space Agency’s CEO Graham Turnock announced on January 13th that he would be stepping down after four years at the Agency.
The Agency employs some 200 staff and enjoys a budget of £577 million annually. Part of the restructuring is supervision of the UK’s rocket launching which is being handed over to the Civil Aviation Authority.
Turnock’s departure – no replacement has yet been announced – leaves a number of key questions outstanding for the new Secretary of State at the Dept. for Business, Kwasi Kwarteng, not least the UK’s stake and development of OneWeb (with India’s Bharti) as well as how the UK will create its own rival system to Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system.