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Space Technology: Investment

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 251334, tabled on 7 May 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to encourage investment in the space industry in (a) the UK and (b) rural areas.

Answered on

15 May 2019

Britain has a vibrant commercial space sector and plays a leading role in international space science. Scotland has end-to-end capabilities from Satellite design and manufacture to the use of space data and services in day-to-day applications. Indeed:

  • In 2015 & 16, more satellites were manufactured in Glasgow than any other European city,
  • The number of space organisations in Scotland grew by 26% between 2014/15 & 2016/17,
  • Scottish space organisations employ almost 1 in 5 of the UK space workforce.

We want to ensure that our space industry, one of the fastest-growing industries in the UK economy, covers the whole of the UK. In July 2018, we announced £31.5 million in grant funding to support development of a new vertical spaceport in Sutherland, providing a much-needed boost to rural Scotland.

We are equipping the UK with the Space facilities we will need in the future. The National Satellite Test Facility now being built in Harwell with £99m of investment from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will provide crucial new test facilities for an expanding space manufacturing sector.

The UK Space Agency also co-invests with the Satellite Applications Catapult in a network of five regional Centres of Excellence in Satellite Applications across the UK, including the Scottish Centre of Excellence hosted by the University of Strathclyde. The Centres raise awareness of opportunities in the space sector, publicise funding calls and broker collaborative partnership, including with local universities.