UK Space Agency reports on growth in space jobs + New UK Space Agency Board Chair – SatNews


The number of space jobs in the UK continued to grow in 2020, despite the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new figures recently released by the British Space Agency.

Employment in the UK space sector reached 46,995 in 2020, up from 44,040 in 2019: an increase of 2,955 (6.7%).

The sector’s income increased in nominal terms from £16.4bn to £16.5bn, with exports accounting for around a third (32%) of this total. Space manufacturing, including satellites, spacecraft, launch vehicles and scientific instruments, grew the most in real terms; up £23m to £2.27bn.

In line with the UK government’s commitment to increase public and private spending on R&D, investment in research and development increased by 19% to £836 million.

Upgrading the space sector is a key priority for the UK Space Agency and there are now 1,293 space organizations located across the UK, with Scotland accounting for around a fifth of the entire workforce British space work. Employment in the sector fell from 7,703 to 8,440 in Scotland, from 415 to 1,109 in Wales and from 113 to 431 in Northern Ireland.

Spaceports in Scotland, Wales and England are expected to generate more jobs in the coming years, alongside the growth of regional space clusters, international investment and emerging technologies such as space manufacturing and debris removal, supported by the National Space Strategy.

British Minister for Science, George Freemanmentioned, “The £16.5billion space sector is a major contributor to a strong and secure UK economy, and it is promising to see it generate thousands of new, high-skilled jobs in the face of headwinds in the global economy. We are supporting this innovative and resilient industry with the biggest ever increase in R&D spending, which includes a significant increase in the UK Space Agency’s budget and the implementation of the UK’s first National Space Strategy. As we support new SpaceTech clusters from Spaceports in Cornwall and Scotland to satellite manufacturing and robotics from Glasgow to Warwick to Stevenage, this will help improve the UK. With the prospect of the first satellite launches from the UK this year, this is an exciting time for this fast growing sector across the country..””

The figures published come from the ‘Size and health of the UK space industry 2021investigation conducted by Bryce Tech on behalf of the British Space Agency.

Lord David Willets

In related news, UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng named Lord David Willets as the Chairman of the Board of the British Space Agencyannounced the government.

The appointment comes at an exciting time for the agency, ahead of the first national launch in the UK this year, and following the recent publication of the National Spatial Strategy, which sets out the government’s long-term commitment to building on the UK’s existing strengths to develop the UK as a world-class space economy.

Lord Willetts brings a wealth of experience to the role and will work with the recently appointed CEO of the UK Space Agency, Dr. Paul Bateto realize the government’s vision for space and maximize opportunities for the sector.

Previously, Lord Willetts was Minister for Universities and Science and MP for Havant, and held various chair and board positions in the space and science sector, including Chairman of the British Science Association, Fellow of Space Policy Advisory Board for the EU External Action Service, Board of UKRI and ESA Expert Group on the Future of Space in Europe.

Lord Willetts has now officially taken office and will bring ambitious direction and leadership to the agency’s board.

New UKSA President, Lord David Willetsmentioned, “I am a strong supporter of the UK space sector in all its diversity and am grateful for this new opportunity to serve it.””

business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng mentioned, “I am delighted to have appointed Lord David Willetts as Chairman of the Board of the UK Space Agency. Lord Willetts will bring a wealth of expertise to this role while working with the excellent Paul Bate to deliver the UK’s space ambitions. Our £16.5billion space sector is a major contributor to a strong and secure UK economy and with the prospect of the first satellite launches from the UK this year, it’s a hugely exciting time for the industry. Across the country..”

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