UK Sees Payoff in Space Investment

Image: Orbex

Years of government investment in the UK’s commercial space sector are paying off. 

The UK received 17% of global space private capital since 2015, according to a report released Tuesday from the UK Space Agency and PwC. That makes it the second most attractive place for private sector space investment behind the US, and the top destination in Europe. Nine of the biggest UK venture capital firms have invested in the space industry since 2015. 

Annually, 18% of the UK’s GDP is supported by space or space-adjacent products and services, with earth observation alone driving more than £100B ($124.9B) of the British economy. The country’s 1,500+ space companies brought in £17.5B ($21.9B) in domestic revenue, accounting for about 5% of the global sector in 2022. 

Earth observation, manufacturing, and satellite connectivity are the country’s key investment areas. The UK has 100+ earth observation companies, the largest number of any European country, per a 2022 House of Commons report. 

UK space background: The UK published its National Space Strategy in 2021 to help build an attractive space economy, and has been developing spaceports to serve as the backbone for a domestic launch industry. Virgin Orbit’s bankruptcy has put a damper on these plans at Spaceport Cornwall, but construction at Sutherland Spaceport began this month.