UK space missions: case studies and programmes

The UK Space Agency funds a variety of space missions and programmes. This collection lists programme information and mission case studies.

Earth Observation

The UK is involved in a variety of missions that help us understand and monitor how our planet is changing. Data from these missions helps support environmental management and aid efforts.

  1. UK strategy on earth observation

International Partnership Programme

The International Partnership Programme (IPP) is a 5 year, £152 million programme run by the UK Space Agency. IPP uses the UK Space sector’s research and innovation strengths to deliver a sustainable, economic or societal benefit to undeveloped nations and developing economies. IPP is funded from the BEIS Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). As GCRF forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) ring-fenced budget, IPP is required to be fully ODA compliant and will be delivered in line with the UN sustainability goals.

National Space Technology Programme (NSTP)

The National Space Technology Programme is a capability programme encouraging the development of space technology in the UK space sector. The programme offers support by funding industry, academia and other (not for profit) government institutions, who are looking to develop technology and build new capabilities for the UK Space sector.

Satellite Launch Programme

The Satellite Launch Programme is helping to grow the UK space sector by enabling two new domestic markets:

  • A small-satellite launch market. This will allow launch vehicles to take small-satellites into space from UK spaceports.
  • A sub-orbital flight market. This will allow sub-orbital flights to take scientific experiments and people to the edge of space from UK spaceports.

Both markets will require the development of UK based spaceports, supply chains and supporting services. This will create growth, employment and opportunity, for local communities, UK industry and academia.

As well as developing regulation, the Government is working with international partners, UK industry, local government and the global space sector to support the creation of both markets. The programme is being delivered by the UK Space Agency in partnership with the Department for Transport, Civil Aviation Authority and supported by the Health and Safety Executive.

Commercial spaceflight

View documents related to commercial spaceflight.

Space Exploration Programme

This is a list of space exploration missions that the UK Space Agency invests in. Our participation in the majority of these missions is through our investment in the European Space Agency.

  1. ExoMars
  2. InSight: the Mars robotic lander

Space Science Programme

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.

  1. MIRI/James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)
Published 9 May 2014
Last updated 19 December 2018 + show all updates
  1. Case studies updated (Earth Observation, Space Exploration).
  2. Commercial spaceflight document collection added to page.
  3. Event link updated.
  4. Link to Launch UK event added.
  5. Satellite Launch Programme guidance added to GOV UK.
  6. New International Partnership Programme case studies added.
  7. Added case studies
  8. ExoMars case study added to the space science mission collection.
  9. First published.