Space Science Programme

Space science is very much the foundation of the UK’s activities in space. UK instruments have travelled to comets, moons and planets.

Our Space Science Programme supports the design, development and operation of scientific payloads and associated ground based data processing facilities for missions in ESA’s mandatory Science Programme and other international collaborations, with a view to maximising the UK’s economic and scientific return on investment.

The UK currently has major involvement in the development of all three of the selected Medium Class missions in ESA’s long term Cosmic Vision programme:

  • M1 - Solar Orbiter (launch 2020)
  • M2 – Euclid (launch 2020)
  • M3 - PLATO (launch 2026)

The UK is also making a significant contribution to ESA’s first Large Class mission to explore Jupiter and its moons, JUICE, planned for launch in 2022. There is a large portfolio of missions in operations supported by the Agency including the recently launched GAIA mission launched in 2013.

The UK Space Agency’s Science Programme Advisory Committee (SPAC) provides an expert advisory function for the overall UK strategy of involvement in space science projects.


Science Programme Advisory Committee

Case studies

  1. BepiColombo
  2. Euclid
  3. MIRI/James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)
  4. Jupiter icy moon explorer (JUICE)
  5. Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) Pathfinder
  6. Solar heliospheric observatory (SOHO)
  7. UKube-1
  8. Rosetta
Published 4 February 2015
Last updated 17 September 2018 + show all updates
  1. Mission launch information updated.
  2. First published.