IOSM Market A £2.7 Bn Opportunity for the UK

5th Jul 2023
IOSM Market A £2.7 Bn Opportunity for the UK

A new report published today by UKSpace has revealed that the UK is well-positioned to secure 25% of the worldwide satellite In-Orbit Servicing and Manufacturing (IOSM) sector.

The IOSM market is forecasted to be worth approximately £11 billion by 2031, and the UK can own a significant share of this through new technology development, flagship national programmes, and government support. 

Four ISOM market opportunities the UK should leverage

The UK Space In-Orbit Servicing and Manufacturing Priorities Paper has highlighted four key market opportunities that can be unlocked with investment:

Active Debris Removal (ADR) 

The growing threat of space debris is something we’ve consistently reported on. Orbital collisions could occur that could disable critical services. 

When you consider that there are as many as 50,000 new satellites planned for launch into LEO by 2023, we must protect the near-space environment.

Life Extension and Refueling

The UK can also lead the way in evolving the way space is done and boosting the lifetime of satellites.

This can drive many benefits, including more flexibility, new capabilities, reduced operating expenses, and more revenue. 

If that wasn’t enough, these services can be exported to the global space market, meaning greater opportunities. 

Transportation and Logistics Infrastructure

We’re going to need on-orbit logistics infrastructure with the expected launch of thousands of new satellites in the coming years. This represents another key market opportunity for the UK. 

Repair, Assembly & Manufacturing 

There are two broad applications when discussing manufacturing and in-space assembly:

  1. Manufacturing for use on earth
  2. Manufacturing and assembly for use in space

As time goes on, we’ll need to maintain and upgrade life-limiting components so that we can extend satellite lifetimes. This will further open up the market opportunity for refuelling, helping to create a circular economy in space.

Being at the forefront of the market

The paper, which was collaboratively produced by representatives across the UK space sector, advises cross-cutting, short-term interventions so that UK businesses can retain access to the four areas discussed above. 

Nick Shave, who chairs UKspace’s IOSM Working Group, said that the IOSM market will be the new logistics sector of the 21st-century space economy, and the UK must capitalise on its current industrial leadership in this sector. 

He elaborated:

“By taking a leading role, the UK has the opportunity to make a major contribution to ensure a more sustainable space environment, and create a new ecosystem of SpaceTech companies attracting inward investment and delivering high-value jobs across all regions of the country.”

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