Unlocking Growth in the UK Space Ecosystem

The expansion of the space industry in the United Kingdom is supported by an evolving policy landscape. This landscape is founded on a close partnership between industry and government, and it is this partnership that, through the National Space Partnership, lays out a specific plan for the future of the space industry in the country.


In order to achieve an audacious national vision, the United Kingdom has developed its very first National Space Strategy, which will be revised in February 2022. This strategy pulls together the nation's capabilities in science and technology, defense, regulation, as well as diplomacy. This plan lays out five objectives and the steps that the government, academic institutions, and private enterprises will need to take in order to accomplish them.


Benchmark Space Systems will leverage SA Catapult’s manufacturing and testing facilities.
Benchmark Space Systems will leverage SA Catapult’s manufacturing and testing facilities.

Plans of Government Support for UK Space Regional Growth


Over the course of the last ten years, the space ecosystem has established itself as one of the UK's industries with the highest rates of growth, therefore speeding advancement for businesses of all kinds across an increasingly diverse spectrum of industries.


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According to a statement made by the UK Space Agency the previous week, further government assistance for regional development would be provided to the sector since it has been identified as a vital factor in increasing the productivity of the UK.


Building on the Strengths of the Centers of Excellence


Satellite Applications Catapult, in partnership with the United Kingdom Space Agency, established a Regional Centers of Excellence Programme in the United Kingdom in 2014. The aim of the program is to coordinate activities and investments, as well as to extend their reach on a local level.


Free event held in Truro allowed people to chat to representatives from space and technology firms.
Free event held in Truro allowed people to chat to representatives from space and technology firms.

This is in keeping with the organization's goal of speeding up the process of bringing new research to market by fostering collaboration between industry and academic institutions. Outside of our bases at the Harwell Space Cluster as well as the Westcott Space Business Park, a total of five centers were established in the beginning with the intention of assisting local businesses and start-ups. These centers were founded on novel concepts, some of which attempted to address problems that are actually encountered in the real world.


Excellence Centre of North East


The center's goal is to use satellite applications to make the world a safer place, namely in the areas of sustainable living and climate change, supply chain security, and infrastructure and asset resilience. Space awareness, as well as surveillance experts Northern Space & Security Ltd (NORSS), opened the UK's first and only Orbital Analyst center in Durham with help from the center, as well as technology firm aXenic created ground-breaking components for the next generation of telecommunications satellites with funding from the center as well.


Excellence Centre of South Coast


The center, which is located within the University of Portsmouth, employs state-of-the-art technological developments in Artificial Intelligence, Earth Observation & Navigation, and Communications to expand satellite applications in the fields of transportation and autonomous systems, logistics, and offshore assets.


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For instance, the center has collaborated with Alcis, a company dedicated to bettering the lives of the world's most vulnerable people through world-class Geographic Information Services, and MercariRisk, an insurance company, to secure funding for a project using Earth Observation data on Columbian farms for insurance purposes.


Skyrora ground rocket system test. (Image credit: Skyrora)
Skyrora ground rocket system test. (Image credit: Skyrora)

The Objectives of the United Kingdom in Space

  • Boost the level of development of our space economy.

  • Encourage the ideals that Global Britain stands for.

  • Create ground-breaking new scientific discoveries and serve as a national role model.

  • Ensure the safety and security of our national interests in space and across it.

  • Put the resources of space to work for the people of the UK and the rest of the world.


How the United Kingdom Plans to Meet the Goal

  • Unlocking the potential for expansion in the space industry.

  • Working together with partners from other countries.

  • Developing the United Kingdom into a global leader in science and technology.

  • Creating space capabilities and services that are resistant to disruptions.


Government Ministers go to the Spaceport Before the First UK Launch


During the 8th of November 2022, government leaders traveled to Spaceport Cornwall in preparation for the first satellite launch from British soil, which will take place later this month.


Spaceport Cornwall received a license to launch with Virgin Orbit. (Image credit: Spaceport Cornwall)
Spaceport Cornwall received a license to launch with Virgin Orbit. (Image credit: Spaceport Cornwall)

The United Kingdom's George Freeman, Science Minister, & Jesse Norman, Transport Technology Minister, met with those responsible for the mission and got an up-close look at Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rocket & its carrier aircraft, Cosmic Girl. The rocket and aircraft will launch from Spaceport Cornwall.


In addition, ministers were given a tour of the brand-new Space Systems Integration Facility at the spaceport. This facility is the first of its type to be constructed at a spaceport in the UK. It is here that the satellites are being prepared for launch by being integrated into the rocket. By the year 2030, Spaceport Cornwall will be responsible for the creation of 150 direct employment and 240 indirect jobs.


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Transport Minister Jesse Norman said:

Because the United Kingdom has one of the world's leading space industries, the first commercial space launch from our shores will be a watershed event for the whole transportation industry.


Named "Start Me Up" in honor of one of the most famous bands to ever come out of the United Kingdom, the Rolling Stones, this mission will not only be the first orbital launch from the United Kingdom, but also the first commercial launch from Europe & the first international launch for Virgin Orbit.


Virgin Orbit Boeing 747 named Cosmic Girl. (Image credit: Virgin Orbit)
Virgin Orbit Boeing 747 named Cosmic Girl. (Image credit: Virgin Orbit)

Separately last month, the modified Boeing 747 known as "Cosmic Girl" and the rocket known as "LauncherOne" flew into Cornwall, with the latter now installed beneath the wing of the former.


George Freeman, Minister of Science, said:

Launching a satellite from Spaceport Cornwall will be a huge step forward for the UK's burgeoning commercial satellite & space industry. Space Forge, Surrey Satellites, Inmarsat, Astroscale, Open Cosmos, as well as the flourishing Scottish space cluster are just some examples of the fast-growing businesses that contribute to this dynamic sector, which is one of the most innovative in the country and a source of new employment opportunities across the country.


Building on our existing strengths in areas like space manufacturing, in-flight manufacturing, satellite as well as debris retrieval, launch licensing, insurance, and finance, we can establish the United Kingdom as the leading European base to launch small satellites, which will generate employment opportunities across the country, stimulate economic growth, and entice foreign investment.


Artist's impression of ForgeStar-0 satellites that will be launched by Virgin Orbit.
Artist's impression of ForgeStar-0 satellites that will be launched by Virgin Orbit.

How do Altair Enterprises' initiatives add value to the growth of the UK Space Ecosystem?


Altair Enterprises will provide you with a comprehensive knowledge of the NewSpace business as well as courses about the design of spacecraft and launch vehicles, space applications, EO technology, space legislation, and a variety of other space-related topics.


Being on the forefront of space education, Altair Enterprises is dedicated to enabling individuals to acquire space-specific skillset and knowledge to pursue careers in the industry or create new innovative startups, hence fostering the growth of the NewSpace economy.


Through organizing annual International Space Conventions, Altair also plants the seeds for international cooperation and facilitates the conversations about the existing issues and how the industry should collectively approach them.