UK’s largest space cluster launches to rocket UK space industry

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© iStock/3DSculptor

Surrey and Hampshire’s research institutes launch UK’s largest regional space cluster that is set to skyrocket the UK space industry.

Surrey and Hampshire’s research institutes, business and industry leaders have joined forces to create the country’s biggest space cluster, capitalising on existing regional strength in space technologies to boost the UK space industry. This will be done through investment in space technology, research, satellite applications and mission capabilities.

The Space South Central partnership, which launched 17 July 2022 at the Farnborough International Air Show, brings together more than 120 academic institutions, private companies and public sector organisations in Surrey and Hampshire, helping to support and guide those established within the space industry and those looking to break into it.

UK space cluster: To rocket UK space industry

“I am proud to see some of the UK’s most prestigious space experts and businesses coming together to further strengthen this thriving sector,” said Dr Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency. “This network will not only provide new routes of access and support for established space organisations in the region, but it will help create more opportunities for groups and individuals inspired by STEM to find their way into a rewarding space career.

“Space South Central exemplifies the vision set out in the National Space Strategy of a sector working together across the country to showcase UK skills and capabilities, catalyse investment, and enhance our international reputation as a hub of expertise and innovation.”

Space South Central

Space South Central will directly contribute to delivering the UK’s space ambitions. The South East of England currently generates 25% (£4.2 bn) of all UK space-related income1, with Surrey and Hampshire, the area covered by Space South Central, possibly accounting for as much as £3bn of reported national space-related turnover.2 Over 5,600 people work in the space sector in the two counties, with expertise across the whole spectrum of space activity.

By bringing together relevant knowledge, including the University of Surrey’s world-leading expertise in small satellite technologies, Space South Central will accelerate space business growth in the region, foster an environment of innovation, further grow the reputation of the south-central region and contribute to national prosperity.

“We are delighted to support the launch of the Space South Central partnership and to help facilitate the continued growth of the space industry in the region,” commented Sam Adlen, Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) at the Satellite Applications Catapult. “Surrey and Hampshire are already home to numerous innovative space organisations and institutions, and we look forward to playing our part in the further development of the region’s growing space community.”

Surrey and Hampshire already have a global reputation for space research and innovation excellence, with significant capabilities established in satellite manufacture, launch technologies, next-generation communications, robotics and autonomous systems, as well as a full range of satellite data-enabled service capabilities. Space South Central organisations already create £1.64bn of export revenue and £65m in foreign direct investment annually.

Keith Robson, Interim Head of the Space South Central partnership, concluded: “There is a global competition to capture business in the space sector, and this strong partnership of regional authorities, business and academic institutions will ensure we are at the forefront, making our mark and attracting investment to the region. Surrey and Hampshire together have an amazing existing hub of science and technology skills and expertise, along with the pioneering spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship which defines our region’s space sector. Space South Central will amplify those capabilities.”

References

1 According to the latest UK Size and Health report

2 Data attained for reported space-based income/turnover, published in company accounts found on the UK HMG Companies House portal in the UKSCC. The turnover in the UKSCC is not fully representative of the whole sector.

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