The ‘Size and Health of the UK Space Industry 2020’ update suggests a growth in both space-related jobs and revenue (a related infographic can be seen below). Commissioned by the UKSA, it was prepared by know.space, a specialist space economics consultancy.
Among its findings were that total UK space industry income grew to £16.4 billion in 2018/19, a growth rate of 2.8% per annum since 2016/17.
The segments that experienced growth were: Space Applications (+4%, +£852m), followed by Space Manufacturing (+2%, +£73m) and Ancillary Services (+4%, +£38m). One segment experienced decline: Space Operations (-2%, -£75m).
The activities that saw the most significant growth were: Location-based signal service providers (+115%, +£453m); Fixed satellite communication services (+52%, +£392m), Processors of satellite data (+34%, +£146m), Applications leveraging satellite data (+26%, +£219m); and Suppliers of materials and components (+25%, +£157m).
Activities that had notable declines, according to the report, were Mobile satellite communication services (-24%, -£239m), Suppliers of user devices and equipment (-5%, -£190m); Proprietary satellite operation (-3%, -£104m); and Launch vehicles and subsystems (-14%, -£108m).
Employment is up by 3,200 from 41,900 to 45,100 and R&D investment was calculated to be £702m, up 18%.
The industry numbers 1,218 organisations, with 95 new incorporations in the last 2 years. However, it is concentrated and dominated by a few large organisations, with just 13 organisations accounting for 82% of total space income, 119 for the next 13% and 1,086 for
the remaining 5%. Only 132 organisations generate space income in excess of £5m.
Note, however, that the 2020 study describes itself as a ‘light touch’ update – “a focus on core metrics and innovative exploitation of secondary data allowed a streamlined online survey to minimise industry burden whilst providing a new wave of historically consistent time series data.”
“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,” said Science Minister Amanda Solloway.
“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.”
You can read the full report, ‘Size and Health of the UK Space Industry 2020’, online (PDF).
See also: UK gets a Space Sector Landscape Map