Britain leaves European rivals trailing in the space race


Britain leaves European rivals trailing in the space race (despite Virgin Orbit crashing back to earth)

Britain is second only to the US in the modern space race – despite its Virgin Orbit setback earlier this year. 

The UK has secured 17 per cent of private investment in space since 2015, making it the leading destination in Europe, according to a report from the Space Agency and auditor PwC. The only country to attract more investment in space projects is the US. 

With earth observation, manufacturing and satellites the key areas of investment in the UK, the report reckons that private investors have pumped as much as £7billion into the UK in the last eight years alone.

Mission control: The UK has secured 17% of private investment in space since 2015, making it the leading destination in Europe, according to the Space Agency and auditor PwC

Mission control: The UK has secured 17% of private investment in space since 2015, making it the leading destination in Europe, according to the Space Agency and auditor PwC

The UK space industry is worth an estimated £17.5billion, with analysts projecting the global space sector could grow by as much as 11 per cent per year over the next decade to over $1 trillion. 

And despite the first satellite mission from British soil failing to reach orbit in January, with the Virgin Orbit flop in Cornwall raising alarm bells, bigwigs remain optimistic. 

Mark Boggett, boss of space investment firm Seraphim Space, said the industry is ‘already the hidden linchpin behind our everyday lives’, adding that Britain was ‘merely at the dawn of space tech’. 

There are around 1,500 space companies in the UK, as well as 83 research centres, 64 space test facilities and 53 universities with space research functions. 

Joshua Western, co-founder and boss of satellite maker Space Forge, said the growth in this sector was ‘a testament to the untapped potential of the UK space ecosystem’.



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