UK Space Industry Growth Hits £17.5 Billion

8th Aug 2023
UK Space Industry Growth Hits £17.5 Billion

Compared to last year, the UK space industry is continuing it’s rapid rate of growth within the global space market. A recent report conducted by Know.Space – called the Size and Health of the UK Space Industry 2022 – showed the sector has expanded by nearly £1 billion. Employment has grown exponentially along with emerging UK-based space companies. The industry, in general, has also outpaced the UK economy, which contracted by 7.6% this year. 

Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive at the UK Space Agency, said: “The £1 billion increase in sector income and £635 million investment generated by UK companies shows the confidence of investors and businesses in the UK space sector. The UK Space Agency will continue to catalyse investment to maintain this positive growth and bring further benefits across the UK economy, the science community and to the planet as a whole.”

Comparing Industry Growth

Reported figures showed the UK space industry generated £17.5 billion by the end of 2021, which is nearly £1 billion more than the previous year – which recorded £16.5 billion in growth. Global disruption impacted almost every sector, but the UK government said space organisations: “presented a robust picture.” The UK outpaced the global space industry in income growth by 4%, and achieving an overall income growth figure of 5.1%.  

UK space market growth report 2023
Source: analysis

Geographical Breakdown

Geographically, the highest proportional growth was in the West Midlands, East of England, and Wales. Moreover, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North East of England saw the highest increase in the number of space organisations to commence operations. 

The South East had the most space activity, welcoming 501 new space companies compared to the 450 reported in the previous figures. According to the report: “Employment rose by the largest proportion in the North West and East of England.”

uk space market geography 2023


Employment in the industry has continued its upwards trend. The space sector now employs just under 48,800 people whilst supporting approximately 126,800 jobs across the UK’s broader supply chain. Compared to last year’s reported employment of 46,995 people, that is a 1,800 person increase, marking a growth rate of 3.8%. Comparatively, the number of space organisations operating across the UK rose from 1,293 to 1,590, creating 1,772 more jobs as a result. 

Employment uk space industry
Source: analysis

Although many industries are facing a cost of living crisis, around 3 in 5 space companies are still expecting income growth over the coming years. 58% are also looking to employ more staff during this income growth period, as well as anticipating to make higher investments. 

Space Investment

Investing in space is at an all time high, with the UK government saying: “space continues to attract a diverse range of investors.” The report showed approximately £635 million was invested into UK-based space organisations through 34 identified deals. Whereas, acquisitions accounted for three quarters of the total amount invested. Conversely, investment in research and development generated £788 million this year, which is down by 6% in comparison to last year. 

Space manufacturing including satellites and scientific instruments, along with broadcasting and mobile satellites were the main drivers in growth. Companies investing in these developments included Seraphim Space who was the top investor in 2022. Octopus Ventures, Par Equity, Innovate UK and Scottish Enterprise, were also considerably active over the past 10 years.

John Hanley, Chair of the UKspace trade body, said: “further growth in the UK space sector, particularly during what was an incredibly challenging time for most UK industries, demonstrates the sector’s resilience and ingenuity. It is gratifying to see the sector growing in areas of the country that have previously been under-represented.”

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


Related Articles

Explore Orbital Today