UK Space industry receives £1.84bn funding commitment

The UK government has committed £1.84bn of funding to the country’s space industry during a meeting of the European Space Agency Council of Ministers in Paris. 

Investment with the UK Space Agency will cover a variety of programmes and builds upon the work put into delivering ‘National Space Strategy ambitions.’ 

Science, Research & Innovation Minister George Freeman, who led negotiations with the UK Space Agency, said: ‘These new investments will support the ongoing growth of the UK space and commercial satellite sector – creating new jobs around the UK from Cornwall to the North of Scotland – and securing UK leadership in space sustainability. 

‘They will put our scientists and engineers at the forefront of some of the world’s most important missions and programmes which drive transformational innovation.’ 

The deal includes: investment into climate programmes; UK leadership in the Vigil space weather mission, which will travel into deep space and give advance warning of solar storms; UK involvement in ‘commercially focused programmes;’ ESA commitment to the Rosalind Franklin Mars Rover, built in the UK and set to launch in 2028; and UK leadership in space sustainability.

A £315m investment into earth observation and climate programmes marks a change in strategy for the government as it takes from a pot set aside for participation in Copernicus, a joint European programme to monitor the planet.  

The UK’s membership in the programme has been uncertain since the country’s exit from the European Union which is in control of the project and many in the UK sector have been worried about over reliance on the data provided by Copernicus ahead of a possible forced exit. 

News of the funding commitment comes as the latest set of astronauts from the UK were revealed as part of the ESA’s class of 2022. Rosemary Coogan will become the UK’s third ever astronaut whilst Paralympian John McFall will be part of a feasibility study as the first para-astronaut and Meganne Christian joins the astronaut reserve team. 

Alongside providing around 47,000 jobs, the UK space sector generates £16.5 billion every year for the UK economy with research showing that for every £1 invested into the ESA, £11.80 is returned to the economy. 

The UK’s space profile has grown this year as Spaceport Cornwall became the first licensed spaceport in the country earlier this month.

Photo: ESA – P. Sebirot


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top