UK space sector will continue to soar

The space industry has grown thanks to the amount of investment that the UK puts into the research and design as well as the “niche and exciting” reputation this sector has, an expert in the has said.

His comments follow a UK Space Agency report which shows the British space industry has grown by nearly eight percent through the recession and is now worth over £7.5 billion to the economy.
The report, ‘The Size and Health of the UK Space Industry,’ is the latest update of a biennial survey of British companies involved in the sector and shows the space industry has grown by more than 10 per cent on average over the last two years.
Carried out by Oxford Economics, the report surveyed 260 companies across both the upstream (companies which provide space technology) and the downstream (companies that utilise space technologies).

It found that even through tough economic conditions the space industry has maintained its momentum, as it recorded an average growth of more than 11 per cent in downstream companies and three per cent growth in upstream providers, compared to the national GDP growth of 0.3 per cent.

A source tells TechEye: “The UK space industry is doing so well for a number of reasons. The first is the amount of investment that is put into research and design in this sector, which means the UK is in a better position to form partnerships and gain investment with different countries and businesses such as telecoms. However, over the past few years the funding and sponsorship have fallen. That said, the industry is still doing well.

“Another reason for the success is that this market is still seen as niche and exciting. If there are going to be investments made then this is probably where it will be.”
According to the report broadcasting continues to be the primary application for space technology, with sales of £5,069 million in 2008/9. The bulk of the remaining revenues are linked to applications for telecommunications, which generated £1,800 million. Together these two applications accounted for over 90 percent of the total market.

“It comes as no surprise that the space industry is soaring. Unlike many other industries, we place a huge reliance in this sector. Satellites are an essential part of everyday life as is broadcasting, which was found to make up the 90 percent of the total market. And the market will continue to rise with new developments and investments from the likes of China and Russia,” our source told us.
The report also found that employment within the space sector has also strengthened by just over nine percent to reach 24,900 in 2008/2009. However, although the sector is doing well the report said there was a challenge in finding competent engineers.

Our source tells us this struggle won’t last for long: “Although there is still a gap in the employment market when it comes to this sector we have seen a renewed interest from the next generation who are embarking on engineering courses in a bid to work in this industry.

“With more expertise, more interest from other countries and more developments in terms of broadcasting the space industry will continue to soar.”