The UK’s space sector has seen significant growth in income, exports and employment with total income now standing at £14.8bn, science minister Chris Skidmore has announced.
The main findings from the independent ‘UK space industry: size and health report’ show that compared to the 2016 survey, income was up from £13.7bn to £14.8bn, employment was up from 38,522 to 41,900 and exports were also up from £5bn to £5.5bn.
The report also shows that an average of 39 new companies have been added to the UK space sector every year since 2012.
The ‘UK space industry: size and health’ report is the most authoritative survey of the sector. After the previous survey showed a slowing annual growth rate to 1.6% in 2014/15, today’s figures show an acceleration with annual rates of 2.1% for 2015/16 and 4.5% for 2016/17.
Much of this growth is due to space manufacturing, including satellites, ground systems and components, which increased at a rate of 27% per year. The UK builds major parts for one in four of the world’s commercial telecommunications satellites.
Science minister Chris Skidmore said: “Our space industry is a great UK success story. New innovations and pioneering experts are helping the sector to grow faster than the rest of the economy as whole.
“The industry is not only providing thousands of new high-skilled jobs but supports a wealth of other sectors worth an estimated £300bn to the UK. By investing in important infrastructure such as the National Satellite Test Facility near Oxford and establishing satellite launch capabilities, our modern Industrial Strategy is helping our space sector to thrive.”
UK space exports currently generate over a third (37%) of income from international trade. The UK’s ongoing membership of the European Space Agency, which is independent of the EU, generates 29% of these exports. France and the USA account for the largest share of exports to individual countries at 40% and 8%, respectively.