Just a few weeks after Sir Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos took off to the edge of space, the UK space industry has today achieved its own lift off as regulations come into effect that provide the framework for satellite launches, spaceflight, and space exploration from the UK.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has taken on new powers to further develop a safe, innovative, and thriving space industry here in the UK. The new regulations create a licensing regime that will allow the CAA to receive applications from UK and global space enterprises to operate out of the UK – open to all kind of space programmes, from commercial spaceflight to satellites and spaceports, it is estimated that this will unlock a potential £4 billion of market opportunities in the UK in the next decade.
This is an exciting development, and the latest step on the UK’s journey to becoming a space and science superpower. The UK space sector already employs 45,000 people directly with a turnover of more than £15 billion, and the creation of a consistent, open and welcoming regime for space licenses demonstrates that the UK is open for business and an attractive place for space companies from around the world to set up.
The regulations are the implementation of the Space Industry Act 2018, making the UK the first country in Europe able to launch spacecraft from its own land. There are opportunities abound for technology that can monitor climate change or maintain the UK’s GPS capabilities, among many other uses, and it is great to see the UK is once again at the forefront of an exciting and rapidly growing global industry.
Welcoming today’s development, ADS Chief Executive Kevin Craven said:
“The applications of space technology are rapidly evolving and the UK’s dynamic space sector is set to continue growing its £16 billion contribution to our economy.
“Putting in place this regulatory framework is another important step towards making commercial space launch from UK spaceports a reality, which will offer major opportunities throughout our space industry and its supply chain.”