UK space industry to benefit from £1.2bn investment

The UK Space Agency is ready to invest £1.2 billion in some of Europe's most significant and profitable space projects, laying the foundations for the creation of a UK space industry worth £30 billion by 2030
 Aim is to create a UK space industry worth £30bn by 203..

With future projects including satellite communications, the Mars rover, nuclear space batteries and weather monitoring systems, the UK Space Agency’s substantial investment will help strengthen an already important industry to the UK’s economy, securing estimated additional contracts worth £1 billion.

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willets stated:

“Space is big business for the UK so it is important for us to make strategic investments that will continue the growth of this thriving industry. The programme of investment we’ve negotiated at ESA will not only allow us to get ahead in the global race by securing more major contracts for UK industry, but will also provide us with the tools to manage major challenges like disaster relief and climate change.”

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

“With the majority of the UK’s investment in space being spent through European Space Agency (ESA) programmes, a robust plan of investment for ESA is pivotal to the UK space industry. Thanks to the government’s increased funding, we were able to enter the negotiations with the funds to match our vision and will be able to continue programmes that will reinforce the continuing growth in a sector that now contributes over £9 billion to the UK economy.”

The UK latest round of investment with ESA will be broken down into:

£16 million investment in the International Space Station

A one off investment focused on integrating telecommunication and propulsion technology into the new Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) called Orion. The investment will help UK industry to diversify its industrial technical capabilities and to further the long-term goal of capturing 10 percent of the world space market

Major increase to investment in telecommunications

By the end of next year, every UK satellite TV channel will be delivered via UK-manufactured space craft; with future possibilities including utilising satellites for air traffic control and monitoring shipping security

£81 million for weather satellite Metop 2G

A substantial investment to fund the replacement of the current satellites the Met Office uses to enable it to offer weather service to the public, business and the government, and represents a significant opportunity for the UK industrial capability

£166 million for the Earth Observation Envelope Programme (EOEP)

The EOEP allows the analysis of the planets fragility and how it has changed over time, a programme which has delivered significant scientific and industrial benefit to the UK in the past

£26 million for Global Monitoring of the Environment and Security (GMES)

UK industry is already developing space technology for the programme, but more significantly will be the impact on both public policies (in relation to natural disasters, climate change, food and energy security) and the commercial applications of the gathered data sets

Investment of £18 million in the European GNSS Evolution Programme (EGEP)

The UK is involved in manufacturing all of the current 22 programme satellites, with the additional investment aimed at preparing future generations of European navigation satellites, offering reduced costs and higher performances over current platforms

£18 million for Mars Robotic Exploration Preparation Programme

The investment will see the UK take leadership of developing nuclear power sources for space missions in parallel with future civil nuclear power programmes

UK to join the European Life and Physical Sciences Programme (ELIPS)

An investment of £12.4 million by the UK Space Agency will exploit the unique environment of space for fundamental and applied science in health, biology, materials and physics

£28 million for Generic Support Technology Programme (GSTP)

 The investment will help secure the UK industry’s long-term competitiveness in securing the opportunities of tomorrow, of particular relevance for SMEs and OEMs who are able to work with European partners and benefit from ESA technical management

£5.6 million for Space Situational Awareness (SSA)

This programme allows the UK to become further involved in developing a means to monitor and mitigate hazards caused by space weather and debris, especially crucial considering the county’s reliance on electronic systems which can become affected.

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