UK space industry set to rocket with Large investment

The UK's #9.1 billion space sector is about to become even bigger business after the Government today pledged an extra #60 million to the UK Space Agency for Europe's space programme.

The investment was announced this morning (09 November 2012) by the Chancellor during a speech at the Royal Society.
The extra investment will also secure the future of the European Space Agency (ESA) facility in Oxfordshire, including transferring ESA's telecoms satellite headquarters to the UK and creating over 100 new high-tech jobs.

This will put Harwell at the centre of space technology and development, reinforcing the work of the Satellite Applications Catapult Centre and RAL Space. The hub will work with partners in the UK, across Europe and around the world to drive an ever-increasing range of exciting new opportunities for industry and academia.

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts said:

"This increase will bring the UK's total investment in the European Space Agency to an average of #240 million per year over the next five years. This will allow the UK to play a leading role in the next phase of European space collaboration. It will drive growth, create extra skilled jobs and help the UK to realise its ambition to have a #30 billion space industry by 2030."
The announcement comes ahead of the European Space Agency's Ministerial Council - a two-day meeting that takes place every four years to reach key decisions on European space programmes and activities for the future. The meeting is due to start in Naples on the 20th of November and will be attended by the Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts. During the proceedings the Minister will negotiate the UK's commitment to individual programmes from the purse of funding announced today.

Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of the European Space Agency:

"With this substantial increase in investment, the UK is helping to promote competition in and encourage the growth of the European space sector by developing space capacities in the UK. In addition to the increased use of UK industry, our commitment to growing ESA's facility here in Harwell confirms that the UK Space Agency is taking up more of a leadership role in key parts of the space sector."

The new resources will be focussed on those projects that will bring economic growth to the UK. One example is a new generation platform for telecommunications satellites. This will provide a 20 year horizon for new satellite sales that are competitive in the global market. Another is the next generation of weather satellites, where a UK contribution to ESA programmes will bring significant business through future orders.

Dr David Williams, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:

"Space is already a key asset for the UK and the decisions made at the upcoming Ministerial meeting will also shape the future of the wider European space sector; this is especially important given the current economic downturn. By pledging an extra #300 million over the next five years, we can put the UK in a leadership role for several major ESA projects. That will ensure that UK industry continue to win lucrative space contracts over the next 5 to 10 years and build on the momentum of the UK's flourishing space sector."

Subject to the outcome of the high-level discussions, the UK space sector expects significant returns from this further investment. Industry has already identified projects to the value of #1 billion that should follow in train from this additional funding.

Colin Paynter, Chief Executive of Astrium UK, said:

"I warmly welcome the Chancellor's commitment to the UK space sector, and the recognition of its growing role in the economic recovery. We have shown a great return to the UK on our collaborative telecom R&D with Government, this multi-year investment gives us the confidence to continue investing, particularly in satellite communications which offer great potential for growth in the years to come."

Williams added:

"With the world space market likely to grow to at least #400 billion by 2030, the UK needs stay in the game and build on its growing success. Space is rapidly becoming a fundamental part of our everyday lives and strong UK investment will ensure we continue to exploit this essential engine of the global economy."


Matt Goodman
Head of Communications
UK Space Agency
Tel: +44 (0) 1793 41 8085
Mobile: +44 (0) 7766 780 926 |

Julia Short
Press Officer
UK Space Agency
Tel: +44 (0)1793 418069
Mobile: +44 (0) 7770 276721

Notes to editors

1. The Chancellor's speech at the Royal Society can be found here

Supportive quotes from industry

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, plc:

"Inmarsat, the UK's global leader in mobile satellite communications, welcomes the Chancellor's announcement today. It will support innovation, create further growth and encourage skills within our economy. The Chancellor's decision mirrors our own to invest $1.5bn over the same period to ensure the UK's continued leadership in satellite delivered voice, data and safety services."

Andy Green, Chief Executive of Logica and co-chair of the Space Leadership Council: "Industry believes that the announcement made today will play a key role in helping the space sector deliver its ambitious aims to grow the UK's share of the fast-growing global space market, generating 100,000 new jobs by 2030."

David Williams, Chief Executive of Avanti: "I am delighted that the government has continued to support the space industry today. Britain punches above its weight in the space industry, and that is in large part due to the commitment of government over many years to fostering an eco-system of regulatory support R&D funding and innovation. In prioritising its budget in this way, the government has shown industry that it is serious about high tech job and wealth creation in rebalancing the economy, and now its down to us to do our bit."

"Harwell is an important commitment for the UK because it places us at the heart of the European Space Agency's activities in the crucial commercial areas of space endeavour which support wealth creation. Our partnership with ESA has delivered very high returns for the UK economy over the years and the commitment to Harwell secures that for the future."

Ruy Pinto, Chair of UKSpace and Chief Technology Officer, Inmarsat:

"UK investment in British industry, through targeted subscriptions in ESA programmes, offers the UK unique opportunities to develop cutting-edge technologies in some of the most exciting and challenging space programmes in the world.

In particular we welcome the further investment by ESA into its Harwell facility, which will add to a fast-growing space cluster, which includes the new TSB Satellite Applications Catapult, an industry led facility that will help companies take their ideas into the fast-growing marketplace for applications."

UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space. It is responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and provides a clear, single voice for UK space ambitions.

The Agency is responsible for ensuring that the UK retains and grows a strategic capability in the space-based systems, technologies, science and applications. It leads the UK's civil space programme in order to win sustainable economic growth, secure new scientific knowledge and provide benefits to all citizens.

The UK Space Agency:

* Co-ordinates UK civil space activity
* Encourages academic research
* Supports the UK space industry
* Raises the profile of UK space activities at home and abroad
* Increases understanding of space science and its practical benefits
* Inspires our next generation of UK scientists and engineers
* Licences the launch and operation of UK spacecraft

Promotes co-operation and participation in the European Space programme

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