Space industry manufacturing in the UK up 27% annually

The UK’s space industry has seen significant growth in income, exports and employment with total income now standing at £14.8 billion, Science Minister Chris Skidmore has announced.

Much of this growth is due to space manufacturing, including satellites, ground systems and components, which increased at a rate of 27% per year. This contributed to three quarters of the overall change in total income.

The main findings from the independent UK space industry: size and health report show that, compared to the 2016 survey:


  • Income up from £13.7 billion to £14.8 billion

  • Employment up from 38,522 to 41,900

  • Exports up from £5 billion to £5.5 billion

The report also shows that an average of 39 new companies have been added to the UK space sector every year since 2012.

This is the most authoritative survey of the sector. After the previous survey showed a slowing annual growth rate to 1.6% in 2014/15, today’s figures show an acceleration with annual rates of 2.1% for 2015/16 and 4.5% for 2016/17.

The UK has significant capabilities in this area, building major parts for one in four of the world’s commercial telecommunications satellites.

Beyond the direct effects of the space industry, the satellite services industry supports a wealth of other sectors worth an estimated £300 billion of UK GDP, up from £250 billion from the previous survey. Earth Observation services, such as data for monitoring land use and agriculture, is a significant growth area, supporting £92 billion of GDP and growing at a rate of 25% per year.

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