UK space launch programme receives £50 million boost in Government’s Industrial Strategy

A £50 million programme to enable new satellite launch services and low gravity spaceflights from UK spaceports will boost the economy and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Business Secretary Greg Clark announced the plans today (Monday 27 November) as he launched the Government’s ambitious Industrial Strategy.This sets out a long-term vision for how Britain can build on its economic strengths, address its productivity performance, embrace technological change and support businesses and workers.

The £50 million programme, which builds on the £99 million already invested in the National Satellite Test Facility at Harwell, will help UK spaceports access a global market for launching small satellites worth £10 billion over 10 years, and offer low gravity flights to advance cutting-edge science.

UK Space Agency Chief Executive, Graham Turnock, said:

“The ambition of our LaunchUK programme is for a home-grown market for spaceflight which will give businesses across the country access to exciting new opportunities.

“This £50 million boost from the Industrial Strategy will help the UK Space Agency continue working with the industry to develop new technologies, infrastructure and services, to establish the UK as a world leading destination for space launch.”

The UK Space Agency is working with industry to grow the UK’s share of the global space market from 6.5% to 10% by 2030. To achieve this, companies must be able to pursue new commercial opportunities from the UK, which offers an excellent location for space launch, with a world-leading small satellite industry, access to in-demand orbits, and reputation for regulatory excellence.

The Department for Transport, Civil Aviation Authority and UK Space Agency are working together to legislate to enable a comprehensive regulatory environment for these activities with the Space Industry Bill currently going through Parliament. Several sites in England, Wales and Scotland have so far come forward with spaceport plans. A series of LaunchUK roadshows are currently touring the country to explore how the market can develop, what opportunities it offers for new supply chains, and how the benefits can be delivered across the country.

The Government has also provided further guidance today for sectors such as space, which are developing sector deal proposals, and intends to announce negotiations for new deals in the New Year.