Career Opportunities in the UK Space Industry

17th Mar 2022
Career Opportunities in the UK Space Industry

The space sector is the fastest-growing area in the UK, with UK space jobs taking more than 5% of the global space market. At the beginning of 2021, there were over 1,000 space organisations in all 13 country regions with a total number of over 45,000 employed in the UK.

The recently adopted National Space Strategy set the purpose to double UK influence on the global space market up to the year 2030, which will result in the growth of employees by 2.5 times. What UK space careers will be in demand in the coming years, and how is the UK planning to find talents?

Priority areas for the UK space jobs

The ISS astronaut is not the only job available in the space sector. National Space Strategy determines the priority development ways of the UK Space industry, which will demand the substantial growth of space jobs in the UK:

1. Spacecraft Manufacturing

Nowadays, Great Britain manufactures over 20% of all orbiting satellites. The most significant part of the market is located in Glasgow. More satellites than in the whole of Europe are manufactured here. The demand for spacecraft is growing globally, so it is necessary to employ more aerospace systems engineers and robotics engineers. 

2. Rocket Launch

The UK will launch vehicles from its soil as early as next year. Seven locations have been selected (five in Scotland, one in Wales, and one in South West England). It is not yet clear which platforms will be commissioned first, but most likely, the Sutherland Spaceport and SaxaVord Spaceport will be ready soon. It is known that one of the first UK Spaceports will host British launchers, Skyrora and Orbex Space, which are already completing tests of their XL and Prime light class rockets and plan to do 10-20 launches per year in the future.

The popular jobs in the space industry in the UK for these activities would be design engineers, civil engineers, mechanics, ground segment engineers, space security specialists, etc.

3. Satellite data processing

The growing global demand for satellite data increases the value of UK downstream companies, developing analytical platforms that make it possible to conveniently provide information received from satellites to the final consumer. More space careers in the UK, including programmers, cybersecurity specialists, product managers, data processing engineers, software deployment engineers, etc., will be in demand.

4. Telecommunications

At the end of this year, OneWeb, the British telecommunication operator, plans to test its own global satellite internet network. The company has already placed half of the 648 satellites of the constellation in LEO, and now it’s the second largest after SpaceX’s Starlink net. The company is hiring, and the site contains UK space job offers from OneWeb.

5. Space tourism provides more UK space jobs

In 2021, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, the companies of billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, respectively, launched the first suborbital tourist flights. Following them, SpaceX sent four civilians on a three-day trip in orbit (Inspiration 4). This marked the beginning of the era of space tourism, and Britain expects to take place in this promising niche.

The world’s first agency offering a full range of services to prospective space travellers was recently opened in London. The services include flight coordination, accommodation, meals, and special training programs to get future tourists ready for the flight. Therefore, we can expect a demand for more UK space jobs, as space tourism managers, psychologists, and of course, astronauts.

Nurturing talent

A skilled and diverse workforce is vital to the success of the space business and the growth of the sector. Therefore, one of the key points of the UK National Space Strategy is nurturing talent. The following is to be provided:

  • Reforming the skills system to better suit the needs of business and the economy.
  • Improving access to quality Space Apprenticeship and jobs in the space industry in the UK regardless of the region.
  • Creating conditions for attracting talents from around the world, in particular with the help of the Innovator Visa and the expedited Global Talent Visa.
  • Partnership expansion with employers and support for hiring the necessary specialists.
  • Inspiration of the younger generation to get a profession in the space sector (Space Scholarship, investment support for various space projects and missions, etc.).

By taking these steps, the UK will create the most exciting place for innovative talent. With the support of space innovations and capabilities, the expansion of the international collaboration will help create more UK space jobs to establish one of the most powerful space economies globally and grow the UK as a space nation.

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