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The UK's space sector is out of this world

09 December 2016

The UK Space Agency’s latest survey of the UK space industry, carried out every two years, shows that the sector has continued to grow strongly.

Engineer working on space technology in a clean room at Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (Credit: UK Space Agency (Max Alexander).)

It is now worth £13.7 billion to the UK economy and confidence amongst businesses is high.

Produced by London Economics, the ‘Size and Health of the UK Space Industry 2016’ represents the definitive latest source of information on the UK space sector. This year’s report shows that space continues to be a key infrastructure for the UK, supporting more than £250 billion of output across the economy with telecommunications, navigation, earth observation and meteorology services.

The sector is now estimated to directly employ 38,500 people. With output per worker almost three times the UK average, the sector is highly productive and has a workforce that is among the most highly skilled in the economy, with three in four employees holding at least a primary degree.

Firms are also positive in their expectations for the future. 7 in 10 responding businesses expect their income to grow over the next few years, and over half expect export sales to grow. Exports are an important source of income for the sector, accounting for over a third of revenues in 2014/15.

With a range of improvements to method and more than twice as many companies responding, this year’s report provides the most robust evidence yet on the main characteristics of the UK space industry and on perceived challenges and opportunities looking forward. Survey responses are supplemented with detailed secondary research and analysis to give the most accurate overview possible.

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