The UK Space Agency has today released its biennial report into the size, health and growth of the UK’s thriving space sector. Developed in conjunction with London Economics, the report outlines the revenue and employment profile of sector, the geographical spread of the industry and the sector’s growth measured against UK Space Agency policy objectives.

Key Findings of the Report:

  • Space industry turnover in 2012/13 was £11.3bn – increasing by 15% in real terms since 2010/11, an growing at an annual rate of 7.3%.
  • Direct GVA of the UK’s Space industry was £4.8bn – contributing to the UK economy at similar levels to passenger rail transport and motion picture production.
  • The downstream sector of the industry (e.g. broadcasting, communications, service providers) contributes 89% of turnover – at £10.1bn.
  • The industry employs 34,300 employees – increasing by 18.7% since 2010/11
  • Markets – the UK market represents 65% of industry turnover, but has reduced from 78% in 2010/11 due to export sales growth.
  • The largest markets for UK exports are the Rest of Europe (10%), Asia (7%) and North America (7%). Sales to Asia however have grown by 50% and to N & S America by 11%.

The report also looks at the UK Space industry’s growth measured against the ambitious government plans set out in 2014 within the UK ‘Space Growth Action Plan’. The report found that:

  • At current annual growth rates (7.3%) industry will need to significantly increase growth to 8.7% per year, in order to achieve the interim goal of £19bn turnover in 2020.
  • However, in order to achieve revenues of £40bn by 2030, industry would only need to grow by 8.1% per year – only 0.3% points lower than actual growth observed between 1999/2000 and 2012/13.

Therefore whilst it may be difficult to achieve ambitious targets set for 2020, the UK Space industry is well positioned to achieve its goal of 10% of global market share by 2030. With potential new applications in commercial space flight, spaceport operations run from the UK, and an increase in UK broadcasting activity, UK industry is at the heart of the many different space applications which are expected to grow significantly over the next 10-20 years.