The UK space sector saw a rise in income and employment, with almost 1,800 more jobs created and an increase in the number of space organizations by almost 300 from 1,293 to 1,590. The latest Size & Health of the UK Space Industry report shows that the sector generated £17.5 billion in 2021, compared to £16.5 billion the previous year. Space applications, such as mobile satellite communications, broadcasting, space manufacturing and space operations, were the primary drivers of growth. Despite the global pandemic’s disruptions, the confidence of investors and businesses in the UK space sector remained robust.
The UK Space Industry is a vital sector of the country’s economy, providing both employment opportunities and economic growth. The sector now employs just under 48,800 people and supports an estimated 126,800 jobs across the wider supply chain.
The West Midlands, East of England, and Wales saw the highest proportional growth in space sector income, while Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North East of England experienced the largest proportional increase in the number of space organizations. Employment rose by the largest proportion in the North West and East of England.
In 2022, £635 million was invested in space companies headquartered throughout the UK in 34 identified deals, with acquisitions accounting for three-quarters of the total investment value. There has been a steady upward trend in both the number of investments and the population of investors. The sector outpaced the global space industry by 4%, with 89% of investors coming from the private sector.
Despite the pandemic’s impact, survey respondents remained optimistic about the future of the industry, with three in five expecting to grow their income over the next few years, over half (58%) expecting to employ more staff, and half anticipating higher investments.
Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive at the UK Space Agency, stated that the UK Space Agency would continue to catalyze investment to maintain this positive growth and bring further benefits across the UK economy, the science community, and the planet as a whole.
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology Michelle Donelan stated that investing in the UK’s space capabilities can unlock new opportunities, bringing more jobs, skills, and businesses to the UK.
While many countries are not sure if they could ever sustain an aerospace industry, more so after the pandemic, the UK is striving. With a steady influx of private and government money, the space industry will only grow with more high-tech innovative inventions and discoveries to come.