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February 25, 2021

UK government announces new measures to support space sector

By Ellen Daniel

The UK government has outlined measures to support the country’s space sector.

The sector currently employs 42,000 people in the UK and in 2019 space exports totalled £5.5bn. The UK government has announced a series of initiatives to support UK sectors to “build back better” after the pandemic, including the space industry.

The Department for International Trade will continue to support Leicester Space Park, an initiative to develop a global hub and collaborative community for those in the space and space-enabled technology industry, as a high potential opportunity (HPO) for foreign investors.

The HPO scheme identifies opportunities to attract foreign direct investment into emerging sectors and regions.

It will also set up a new virtual Space Sector Export Academy, with the aim of providing training to SME space businesses and “increase international trade, investment skills and knowledge”.

The Department for International Trade will also work with other departments and local organisations to reduce trade barriers and support international partnerships.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said:

“The UK’s space sector has shown incredible resilience throughout the past year, and it’s critical that we help to get this dynamic industry growing faster so that we can establish Britain as a leading player in the commercial space race.

“This package of government support will enable UK space businesses to flourish, creating highly skilled jobs while driving forward innovative new products that will help improve all our lives, as we build back better from the pandemic”.

Earlier this week, the UK government entered into a partnership with the Australian government on the Space Bridge. This partnership aims to promote knowledge exchange and investment between the two countries.

Nick Shave, Chair of UKSpace said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the UK space sector, particularly due to lower export demand and reduced inward investment confidence.

“We welcome this package support measures that the Department of International Trade has created. The measures will help innovative UK companies to position space technology and space-enabled services in the fast-growing global space market which is predicted to grow to over £400 billion per annum by 2030.

“Space has real potential to be a major UK industrial success story if government and industry works closely together in partnership via initiatives like this DIT Space Sector Covid Support Plan.”

Read More: Former astronaut Garrett Reisman: Automation could help create colony on Mars.