UK Space Industry Developing at a Tremendous Pace


If you look at any UK aerospace company these days, you’ll probably notice just how much funding they’re receiving. The whole nation has seen growth in its space sector like never before, with countless new jobs and an enormous amount of foreign direct investment. It’s great for everybody as the UK space industry contributes to approximately 15% of the nation’s GDP, creating hundreds of highly skilled jobs. Even with the coronavirus pandemic, growth is projected to increase for years to come. Let’s find out more about the UK’s success.

The statistics don’t lie

The remarkable development of the UK space sector has been widely documented. Statistics paint a picture of just how impressive the growth is. If you look at records comparing 2016 to 2018, you’ll find the following:

  • Space-based income has increased from £14 to over £16 billion.
  • Over 3000 highly skilled jobs have been created.
  • Research and development investment increased by 18%.
  • Scotland has been thriving, with an average increase in profits for space companies.
  • Over £350 billion of UK economic activity comes from satellites alone – the nation saw an increase in £50 billion over this time.
  • 95 space companies have been established in the UK market during this period.

Natural advantages

Most news on growth has focused on Scotland, a country that has seen the largest increase in space companies. Other than Scotland, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, and Wales have also seen substantial growth, but Scotland has natural advantages. Most of the advantages come from the fact that it is so far north, making it a popular destination to launch satellites into the Lower Earth orbit. More and more small satellites are going to be launched in the future, as the growing telecommunications industry depends on them, and Scotland will capture this share of the market. Scotland is also a country that has a lot of remote open spaces, which are the perfect types of location for building spaceports. Companies can conduct launches without creating too much of a disturbance for people and wildlife, particularly on one of Scotland’s many remote islands.

Scotland has recently seen a £2 million fund from the government to help launch sites. The initiative helped airports such as Prestwick and Glasgow expand their spaceplane, satellite launch, and suborbital flight plans. It is hoped that this investment will attract even more foreign direct funding from companies all around the world.

Economic factors

The UK government has been heavily investing in the Spaceflight Programme, which aims to establish the launch of small satellites from spaceports all over the country. There is a lot of incentive to fund this program, given the boost it will have on the space sector and economy in general. Growing the nation’s satellite launching capabilities creates hundreds of highly skilled jobs. 75% of employees have at least one university degree, and employee productivity is almost double that of the national average. Now, more than ever before, the space sector is a fundamental part of the nation’s economy and society. The government plans to increase the UK space industry market, with goals to have the UK holding 15% of the global space market by 2030. It’s an ambitious plan, but it’s looking more and more attainable.

The UK space industry is growing by the day

We hope to have shown you that the UK space industry is on the rise, and many more space startups are coming into the limelight. The pace of growth is certainly tremendous, and it’s unlikely that things will slow down for many years. Soon the UK will become the next contender in the space race, following successful countries such as Russia and the United States. These are exciting times for the global space industry, especially so if you’re a UK rocket company.

The space sector has led to several space innovations, from the invention of the microwave to the improvement of 3D printing technologies. Do you think it will have any other wider impacts on society? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Share them in the comments section below.