UK Space Sector – Launching growth to new heights

Today the UK Space Agency released their ‘Size and Health of the UK Space Industry’ report showing that the sector has had significant growth in income, exports and employment with total income now standing at £14.8 billion. The survey shows that compared to 2016:

  • Income is up from £13.7 billion to £14.8 billion
  • Jobs are up from 38,522 to 41,900
  • Exports are up from £5 billion to £5.5 billion

UK Space Manufacturing

Space manufacturing companies were the engine of growth, including developing and building satellites, new ground systems and components.  Space manufacturing contributed three quarters of the overall change in total income, with 27 per cent growth per year.

The UK’s Space Sector has always had strong foundations; it’s no surprise that it continues to grow, with all 13 UK regions being home to headquarters of space organisations and 40 per cent of all small satellites currently in orbit being built in the UK.

Supporting Other Industries

The report also highlighted how the Space Sector doesn’t work in isolation, and how it enables other industries and technological advancements worldwide.

UK built satellites support everyday lives by enabling Earth Observation services, such as data for monitoring land use and agriculture, as well as helping to predict global weather trends and disaster monitoring. These services support £92 billion of GDP and are growing at a rate of 25 per cent, per year, with wider satellite services are worth an estimated £300 billion of UK GDP.

To the Future

The UK Space Sector has an ambition to capture 10% of the global space market by 2030. With £566 million (or 10 per cent of GVA) invested in Research and Development, the Space industry is 6 times more R&D intensive than the UK average. Again, this is led by Space Manufacturing who spend 14 per cent of income on R&D.

Last year at Farnborough International Airshow, the government announced that the UK’s first ever vertical launch spaceport will be in Sutherland, Scotland. The spaceport announcement is a step change for the UK Space Sector, providing further opportunities as the UK will be the first country in mainland Europe to have the capability to launch its own satellites into orbit.

With this in mind the future is looking bright for the Space industry with the sector expecting to outperform the economy as a whole, with 73 per cent of respondents expecting income growth, and the UK space workforce expecting to grow faster than total UK workforce employment, with 68 per cent of respondents predicting job growth.