Space industry manufacturing in Britain up by 27% annually

Posted on 31 Jan 2019 by Maddy White

The UK’s space industry has seen significant growth in revenue, exports and employment with total income now standing at £14.8bn, Science Minister Chris Skidmore has announced.

The formation of AMRC/Space gives the region the opportunity to attract new investors at the forefront of smart technologies.
The growth is in part due to space manufacturing.

Much of this growth is due to space manufacturing, including satellites, ground systems and components, which increased at a rate of 27% per year. This contributed to three quarters of the overall change in total income.

Space industry in numbers

The report: ‘Size & Health of the UK Space Industry 2018’ shows that, compared to the 2016 survey:

  • Income is up from £13.7bn to £14.8bn
  • Employment is up from 38,522 to 41,900
  • Exports are up from £5bn to £5.5bn

The findings also show that an average of 39 new companies have been added to the UK space sector every year since 2012.

Britain has significant capabilities in this area, building major parts for one in four of the world’s commercial telecommunications satellites.

Case study: AMRC supports government’s ‘Great British Space Age’

The report comes after the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) aims to make the government’s ‘Great British Space Age’ vision a reality.

The AMRC will draw together a team of high-tech engineers who will drive improvements in the UK manufacturing base – this critical to the success of the government’s space age mission.

The AMRC/Space capabilities reportedly include:

  • Thin walled and precision machining technologies
  • Additive manufacturing, including multi-material and hybrid machining
  • Joining technologies including automated adhesive and robotic welding
  • Assistive technologies for batch production and mass customisation
  • Augmented reality and virtual reality for right first time and training purposes
  • Lightweighting
  • Metrology and quality control, including inspection techniques driven by artificial intelligence

Confidence in the UK’s space sector

There is also confidence in the space sector, with 73% of organisations expecting income growth over the next three years and 48% of those expecting it be more than 10% higher than in the previous three years.

The workforce is too expected to grow, with 93% of organisations predicting job numbers to grow or maintain their current level.