2018 has been a landmark year for the UK space sector with accelerated growth in the sector, innovative satellites launched into orbit and the approval for the UK’s first ever spaceport. The UK space sector is at the cutting edge of exploring the universe and connecting people to the world around them.
2018 has seen an increase on the previous year for direct employees to 42k, exports to £5.5 billion and 1.5k apprentices in the sector. As the sector continues to grow so does its importance to people as they go about their day-to-day lives. UK space helps people communicate around the globe every day, earth observation is helping to provide more accurate weather forecasts and satellites providing navigation for people in the UK.
In relation to UK GDP, the space sector really does punch above its weight as more than £300 billion of UK GDP is supported by UK satellites. It’s easy to see how this is the case when around 40% of all small satellites in orbit have been designed and manufactured in the UK. From 2020 the UK will also be able to launch them into orbit without relying on other nations with the first vertical launch spaceport in the country due to open in Sutherland, Scotland.
With these foundations the UK space sector will continue to grow, building on strong international collaborations with the ESA and NASA, and working with UK Government on a National Space Programme. The UK Space Sector is targeting to reach the 10% global share ambition by 2030 and these foundations laid to make this a realistic goal for the UK’s space sector.
We have already seen the UK space sector build on 2018’s success through its showcasing of new technologies in 2019. In February we saw the launch of the RemoveDebris satellite, developed by UK companies, which has been testing new techniques to clear up space junk and make earth orbit safer for the future.
It is through this innovation and unique expertise that we hope to see the UK space sector achieve its growth target by 2030 and continue to be a desirable place for the global space sector to do business. With the UK’s first vertical launch spaceport and being home to the world’s first ever gravitational wave space observatory, amongst many other incredible things, all on the horizon, it is certainly looking like a prosperous and promising future.