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Executive Summary: The size and health of the UK Space Industry

(October 2014) ‘The Size and Health of the UK Space Industry’ reveals that the sector continues to soar and is currently worth £11.3 billion to the UK economy, growing at over 7% per year, employing over 34,000 people and supporting a further 65,000 jobs in other sectors.

Speaking at the Royal Aeronautical Society Strategic Choices for Space – President’s Conference 2014, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities Greg Clark announced the publication of the report and said:

The UK space sector makes an impressive contribution to the UK economy and has consistently done so over the last decade, virtually doubling in size in financial terms since 2006. These figures show that the UK is well placed to meet our ambitious target of 10 per cent of the global space market by 2030. Co-operation between the public and private sector is the foundation for this continued success.

‘The Size and Health of the UK Space Industry’ allows the UK Space Agency to track the progress of the sector and serves as a metric against its ambitions and the targets set in the Space Innovation and Growth Strategy. The latest figures reflect well on the past two years of strategic investment by government in key technological innovations.

Through strategic investment, improved policy and stronger collaboration in areas with the potential for further growth and high economic return, The UK Space Agency is working to build a supportive environment for the commercial space sector and enabling the UK to fully exploit a growing market for space data and technologies.

The size and health of the UK space industry report 2014



Since 1992, the UK Space Agency1 has periodically surveyed organisations in the UK that supply, or make use of, the space sector. The objectives of the survey are to:
• establish the industry’s general size and health;
• inform industry and the Government of the day
• promote the UK space sector overseas;
• provide an input into the formulation of UK space policy; and
• track progress towards the policy objectives (e.g. The Space
Innovation and Growth Strategy 2014-30).

The series of studies, entitled the Size and Health of the UK Space Industry, provide a historically consistent series of observations on the state of the UK space industry, and thus represent a unique resource for assessing developments in the industry. The UK Space Agency commissioned London Economics to conduct the 2014 version of the study, covering 2011/12 and 2012/13, and this document presents an Executive Summary of the main findings.

The study has historically focused on the space industry, split into upstream and downstream segments. However, reflecting a growing belief that this definition of the industry is too narrow to capture the sector’s future growth, particularly with reference to space-enabled applications, the 2014 analysis reflects three discrete segments of the space economy: upstream space industry (infrastructure and technology), downstream space industry (direct space services) and the wider space economy (space-enabled value- added applications).

The cornerstone of the research is an industrial survey, sent to over a thousand organisations in the UK. Reflecting the expanded space economy definition, the invitee count was increased substantially with a key focus on the industry supply chain (e.g. microelectronics firms) and the wider space economy (e.g. space-enabled value-added service providers). The survey results were supplemented by additional targeted stakeholder consultations, desk-based research of publicly available data sources and a statistical model to estimate inputs for non-responding organisations. The survey questionnaire was based on previous years’ surveys and thus ensures a high level of comparability over time – a crucial feature of the study.

With the expanded list of invitees, the definition of the space economy differs from that of the space industry used in previous editions of the study. The quantitative results presented in the report pertain to the space industry to preserve the consistency of the historical data series. 464 invited organisations were deemed to be in the space industry.

The estimates are based on 303 companies, which either – responded to the survey, were estimated from previous responses, use of statutory annual accounts, or as part of the group of organisations that fall below the statutory reporting threshold. The UK space industry ranges from international market leaders with subsidiaries all over the world, to UK subsidiaries of international companies, on to start-ups and small enterprises.