UK refines space policy

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The UK is to develop its space policy following a review of the British National Space Centre (BNSC) by the Department of Trade and Industry.

The DTI will give the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC)and the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) £150 million ($233 million)over three years.

The NERC will take responsibility for all of the UK's element of the European Space Agency's (ESA) Earth observation budget. At present NERC is only responsible for exploiting resulting research opportunities.

PPARC will take responsibility for around £41million a year to be spent on ESA science missions, with a further £25.5 million over the three years for developing mission instruments. About 60% of UK space funding goes to ESA.

The new emphasis will form the core of a new UK space strategy under development, says Lord Sainsbury, the science and innovation minister.