UK Government to invest £100m in space sector


The UK Government has unveiled a plan to provide £100m in funding to improve the country’s space sector.

As part of the plan, a £99m National Satellite Testing Facility (NSTF) will be established on the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire.

In addition, a £4m investment will be provided for a new National Space Propulsion Facility to develop and test space engines at Wescott Venture Park in Buckinghamshire.

The proposed funding will be offered under the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy and is expected to help the country’s space industry to competitively bid for more national and international contracts.

"These new facilities will help UK companies be more competitive in the global market for space technology and support our ambition to capture 10% of the global space market by 2030.”

UK Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “From Cornwall to the Highlands and the islands of Scotland, the UK space sector underpins industries worth more than £250bn to the UK economy, and through our Industrial Strategy we will unlock the sector’s potential to grow further.

“Located in a cluster known for research excellence, these new facilities will help UK companies be more competitive in the global market for space technology and support our ambition to capture 10% of the global space market by 2030.”

Set to open by early 2020, the NSTF will perform the assembly, integration and testing of space instruments and satellites, as well as enable the UK to capitalise on the estimated 3,500-10,000 satellites that are due to be launched by 2025.

The NSTF will also facilitate the manufacturing of larger and more technologically advanced satellites, enable UK companies to use local test facilities, and allow companies and academia to test and develop space propulsion engines.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) has been selected to deliver the new investment.


Image: UK Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson (far right) and other representatives at Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire. Photo: courtesy of Crown copyright.