The past year has been another record year for the UK Space Sector. 2017/18 has seen many key milestones such as the passage of the Space Industry Bill, the Government backing UK satellites and space technologies with funding from the Industrial Strategy Challenger Fund and further growth of the sector.

Strong Foundations

The UK is already a world leader in the space sector punching above its weight in this new space revolution.

  • The turnover for the UK Space Sector has grown to almost £15bn a year.
  • 40% of all small satellites currently in orbit are built in the UK.
  • The UK Space Agency’s Education team have already reached over 1.3m young people with the aim of using space to encourage more young people into STEM.
  • 97% of all UK military activity utilises space in one way or another.

UK manufacturers have been a pivotal partner in many European Space Agency projects over the years, for example, the ESA ExoMars mission to search for life on Mars. For the mission, Airbus has created an exact replica of the Martian terrain in Stevenage to test robots which will eventually be sent to Mars in 2020.

Enabling other industries

The UK Space Sector doesn’t work in isolation, many projects work across a variety sectors and help enable technological advancements worldwide. A key example is UK built satellites which help our everyday lives through a range of ways such as:

  • Helping you move around the world with GPS navigation.
  • Weather reporting – helping predict global weather trends and support with an early warning for disaster monitoring.
  • Financial and telecommunication around the world.

The UK Space Sector also has a huge impact on Critical National Infrastructures such as defence, the emergency services, environmental monitoring, flood response and other essential functions of the state.

Innovation and the future

The vision from Government is for the UK to become the world’s most innovative nation, working in collaboration with industry to capture 10% of the global space market by 2030.
This year Parliament passed the Space Industry Act which will help lay down the future of commercial space flight from the UK. The act creates a regulatory framework for the expansion of commercial space activities for the first time and the development of the first ever UK spaceport.

With companies such as Space X now leading the charge of the new global space revolution industry and the Government are working to ensure the UK is also at the front of this revolution with initiatives such as the new Disruptive Innovation for Space Centre. The UK is also home to innovative companies pushing the boundaries of space such as Reaction Engines Ltd, who are pioneering the next generation of hypersonic and space access propulsion.

You can view the ADS 2018 Facts and Figures here –