UK Space Agency sizes UK space industry growth

Update: April 2, 2023

UK Space Agency sizes UK space industry growthThe update includes the following headline points.

It reports that the total UK space industry income grew +5.1% in real terms to £17.5 billion, which is the second fastest annual growth in the last seven years. For wider context, the UK space industry growth (+5.1%) outpaced the growth of the global space industry (+1.6%), and this is while the wider UK economy declined by -7.6%.

The industry directly contributed £7.0 billion to UK economic output in 2020/21 (0.34% of UK GDP), up +1.7% since 2019/20, and a total Gross Value Added effect of £18.3 billion (including supply chain effects).

In terms of size, the agency estimates the industry numbers 1,590 organisations, with 29 new incorporations since last year. As a result, direct employment grew to an estimated 48,800 jobs in 2020/21 (from 47,000, equivalent to 0.15% of the total UK workforce). This increases to a total of over 126,800 jobs across the supply chain.


Segments that experienced growth were: Space Applications (+7%, +£843m, driving most of the growth); Ancillary Services (+13%, +£72m) and Space Operations (+4%, +£63m). One segment experienced decline: Space Manufacturing (-6%, -£134m).

The activities that saw the most significant growth were: third-party ground segment operations (+149%, +£59m); Space Surveillance & Tracking (SST) (+135%, +£29m); Legal and financial services (+106%, +£13m); Policymaking, regulation and oversight (+99%, +£37m); Launch and satellite insurance (including brokerage) services (+47%, £46m); and In-Orbit Servicing (+33%, +£0.3m).

Activities that had notable declines, however, were: ground station networks (-58%, -£293m); location-based signal service providers (-61%, -£210m); launch services (-53%, -£5.1m); and launch brokerage services (-77%, -£1.3m).


In terms of where people work, the UKSA identified 501 ‘space sites’ in the South East, 398 in London and 250 in the South West.

At the foot of the table, Wales was identified with 72 sites, the North East with 71, Northern Ireland with 40 and Crown Dependencies with 3 sites.

You can read a HTML version of the report here.

“The £1 billion increase in sector income and £635 million investment generated by UK companies shows the confidence of investors and businesses in the UK space sector,” said Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive at the UK Space Agency. “The UK Space Agency will continue to catalyse investment to maintain this positive growth and bring further benefits across the UK economy, the science community and to the planet as a whole.”

“World-class satellite manufacturing, science and technology expertise have ensured the UK plays a key role in major international missions, and we are increasing our national capabilities in fast-growing areas.”

See also: ADS sizes UK Space sector, worth £16.5 billion to the UK