Science Minister Amanda Solloway announced that “The UK’s space sector has seen growth in both jobs and income due to increased investment in research and development. This means it is well-placed to grow strongly as the UK recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Findings from the latest ‘Size and Health of the UK Space Industry’ report, commissioned by the UK Space Agency show that in the last two years the number of organisations involved in space-related activity in the UK has increased from 948 to 1,218. This includes the establishment of 95 new space-related companies.
In Scotland there has been an increase in space companies from 132, employing 7,555 people, to 173 companies employing 7,703 people.
The space sector requires a highly skilled and educated workforce, with 3 in 4 employees holding at the very least a primary degree. For the first time the ‘Size and Health of the UK Space Industry’ looked at the diversity within the industry. Finding that over one in three employees are female.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said “The UK space industry is booming and this strong growth is a key part of our plans to level up and build back better from the pandemic, creating thousands of high value space jobs in regions right across the UK.”
“As we look to fulfil our bold ambitions for space, including the first satellite launches from UK soil next year, I look forward to seeing the sector growing further with more young people pursuing exciting careers in space, all while helping to cement the UK’s status as a global space superpower.”
The space sector also brings with it investment in research and development investing increasing sums in new ideas and technologies. R&D spending is up 18% in real terms from £595 million in 2016/17 to £702 million in 2018/19. As a proportion of Gross Value Added, this is 5 times the national average.
Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “The UK is already a world leader in small satellite technology and applications, telecommunications, robotics and earth observation, while British universities are some of the best in the world for space science. It is fantastic to see our innovative space sector investing in the future through increased commitment to research and development – and see more and more jobs being created in this exciting industry.”
The UK Space Agency’s Spaceflight Programme is looking to establish both commercial vertical and horizontal small satellite launch from UK spaceports. This will provide a further boost to the space sector as by growing the UK’s launch capability new jobs and further economic benefits will be brought to communities and organisations right across the UK. Its hoped that this will also inspire the next generation of space scientists and engineers meaning continued long term growth is assured in this exciting and rapidly developing job sector.