New figures published this month reveal that the UK could compete in a high value market to launch an estimated 2,000 satellites by 2030.

A report from Frost and Sullivan assessing the potential UK market share for dedicated launch services to support the business case for UK spaceports will be published in the near future. The executive summary is available on request.

On Britain competing to launch up to 2,000 satellites, the report says that the UK is very well placed to compete for the launches of small satellites going to popular polar and sun-synchronous orbits.

The analysis from Frost and Sullivan reveals that an estimated 2,000 commercial satellites fall into that category in the 2021-2030 timeframe and this represents the total opportunity which UK launch providers will be chasing.

On his first visit to the site of a future UK spaceport in Sutherland, Business Secretary Greg Clark expanded on the commercial opportunities to be gained.

He commented that thanks to the UK’s location, planned regulatory framework, private sector strategy and space ecosystem, Britain has a competitive advantage to compete for a substantial share of a market for launching an estimated 2,000 small satellites by 2030.

During the visit the Secretary of State viewed plans for the spaceport site and held discussions with local people and businesses to hear their thoughts.

Figures released to coincide with his visit suggest that existing ‘rideshare’ small satellite launches (small satellites piggybacking on larger missions) are capable of meeting less than 35% of the total demand. This reveals a significant gap in commercial small satellite launch provision for which future UK spaceports are well placed to compete.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

“From our market leadership in small satellite construction to our world leading universities Scotland and the UK comes from a position of strength in the global space sector which will be turbo boosted by the first new spaceport and our Industrial Strategy. However, I want to make sure that this giant leap for the UK will also deliver on the ground, that’s why I’m here today to discuss benefits in local jobs, uplifting tourism and businesses, helping to bring prosperity to all.”

Low cost access to space is important for the UK’s thriving space sector which builds more small satellites than any other country, with Glasgow building more than any other city in Europe.

The Sutherland spaceport will be developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). The HIE Board approved investment of up to £9.8m in the £17.2m facility. The agency earlier confirmed that the Sutherland spaceport was capable of supporting some 400 jobs. These would be a mix of new jobs as a result of activities at the spaceport, inward investment, and supply chain opportunities.

Roy Kirk of HIE is project director for the Sutherland Spaceport development said:

“Establishing the UK’s first spaceport in Sutherland is a fantastic opportunity for the Highlands and Islands, and for Scotland. The international space sector is set to grow very significantly in the coming years. We want to ensure our businesses are ready to benefit from the opportunities this will create.

Establishing this launch site will create local opportunities, with around 40 high quality, skilled jobs in a fairly remote and rural part of Sutherland.  Crucially, we believe it will also stimulate further related investment and business activity more widely across the Highlands and Islands and other parts of Scotland.

We’ll be working to develop supply chain opportunities locally and across our region. We will also use the spaceport’s presence to attract and encourage further business activity and investment here in the longer term.”

Chris Larmour, Chief Executive of Orbex said:

“I don’t think anyone should underestimate the importance of what is being done here in Scotland. With Sutherland we will have continental Europe’s first spaceport. Britain already has a very strong satellite manufacturing capability and soon, with Orbex, there will be British rockets taking those satellites into orbit. This end-to-end capability is unique in Europe and will create a virtuous circle, leading to more investment, more business and more jobs.

As a great example of that, we are currently assessing locations in Scotland to house our rocket factory and Spaceflight Mission Control facility, which will become Orbex’s global headquarters.  We hope to announce the location of our new facility within the next sixty days. From there, we will start the hiring process for 25 new jobs immediately, rising to around 130 jobs over time. We have progressed rapidly over the past three years. We are already testing the engine of our Prime rocket, we have secured £30 million in funding and we have signed up our first customer for twenty satellite launches. Very quickly, we expect the local economy and the wider British economy to start feeling the positive impact of this progress.”

Patrick Wood, Lockheed Martin’s UK Country Executive for Space, said:

“We are moving quickly with our teammates to establish detailed plans and infrastructure for this new launch capability. Lockheed Martin is already expanding our presence in Sutherland, and we’re searching for the first members of our team now. We are committed to fast and meaningful progress to deliver regular, reliable and responsible access to space for the UK, with the first launch slated for the early 2020s.”

Scotland is the best place in the UK to reach in-demand satellite orbits with vertically launched rockets. The UKSA has also previously announced a £2m scheme to support horizontal launch.

 

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farouk
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farouk

Without wanting to seem too negative, is 214 launches a year (projected) a little too optimistic seeing as nobody has cut the first sod?

farouk
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farouk

Damn I should have included :
For 2021 at the end of launches a year.

Julian
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Julian

From reading the news items and some interviews when it was first announced one must be careful not to get too carried away with the “spaceport” nomenclature and thinking it’s going to be anything like an airport. Apparently it’s pretty much a launch pad and a few basic outbuildings and so presumably not a lot of construction effort involved. I’m not intending to denigrate this initiative in any way, it’s fantastic that the UK is getting into the launch business, I’m just saying that without needing any crew let alone passenger facilities and with single-use only-going-up rockets not needing any… Read more »

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

Sounds promising!
The UK can achieve so much more if we start believing and investing in ourselves. Team GB has a bright future after Brexit i’m sure of that. Now start allocating the money HMG

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Bravo!

This is key. Believing in ourselves and bloody well getting on with things!

Unfortunately, any get up and go or enterprise from the patriotic few is soon drowned out by HMG.

But I agree with your sentiment.

reaper
Guest
reaper

Danielle, doesn’t that speak volumes about those we’ve voted in charge? it says quite a lot to me. zero interest in Britain.

Lewis
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Lewis

How dare you feel optimistic about the UKs future. All non doom mongering and self loathing is banned by orders of the goverment.

fearlesstunafish
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fearlesstunafish

i’m curious to how exactly we plan on achieving this….. whose going to launch them? cause realistically, spacex are so much cheaper than everyone else atm, unless someone can build another rocket that even comes close on price….

i really hope we fund reaction engines so we can get the sabre flying asap tho, cause that could change the equation massively….

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

This is a piece of good news. I am especially happy to hear of a British company (Orbex) designing and building our own rockets here in Britain, instead of just buying foreign ones. No other self respecting country with a space program does that, we shouldn’t either. It is things like this which gain, or indeed lower a country’s prestige in front of the eyes of the World which in turn strongly influences how our country, and by knock on effect our exports, is viewed. We should invest heavily in this high-tech industry of the future and become a major… Read more »

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins

Well put Stephen,
Best thread I’ve seen on here for a while! Build British and invest in Britain.

SoleSurvivor
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SoleSurvivor

“instead of just buying foreign ones. No other self respecting country with a space program does that, we shouldn’t either” NASA uses Russian rocket engines you moron. I don’t know why some people praise your posts Stephen, you’re anti-British, constantly moaning about Britain trashing its own industries, selling to foreigners and not making our own stuff anymore. The idea that Britain does not manufacture like it used to is a myth, we produce more in absolute terms than we ever have done. You keep going on about the car industry like it’s dead, it’s never been in better health. 1.7m… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) SoleSurvivor – Well can I say its a total pleasure to be able to, once again, agree with your excellent post. Well from the 3rd paragraph on anyway. All I can possibly add is that you do not do the British Rail industry as much justice as you could have. We never stopped building trains and carriages and our refurbishment industry is second to none. ‘Derby’ is still a technology leader and has dozens of those smaller start ups you mentioned as well as larger globally established firms. If we are so bad, as I always ask critics,… Read more »

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Hitachi is not British. Alstom is not British. Siemens is not British. Bombardier is not British. To close every single British train maker down only to allow foreign companies to set up a factory and Britain’s railways used exclusively to keep foreign train makers going is disgusting. It is an absolute humiliation for Britain, very, very far from a “huge success”. This is EXACTLY what I am talking about. Can anyone imagine Japan closing every single last one of their own train makers down, only to allow foreign companies to set up factories and then use Japan’s railways exclusively to… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) Stephen – You premise your anger on a falsehood and then project a flawed critique. No one ‘closed down’ any British rail factory at all let alone to somehow give them to foreigners. Most were all nationalised in 1948 and they were private companies before that (The Big Four). Some remained independent (English Electric, Brush, Westinghouse etc) and they still exist in one form or another today When the industry was re-privatised each division was sold off. The train manufacturing companies were mostly bought by their management teams backed by Hedge funds and other investors. The ex BREL… Read more »

SoleSurvivor
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SoleSurvivor

Thanks Chris

Yes Bombardier is a success story, I never knew on what scale until you mentioned it but having just looked it’s doing great for Britain.

Great news about Derby, that’s just the tip of the iceberg as it’s not just cities that are contributing to the technology sector, we have 16 “tech towns” like Burnley, Slough and Swindon, doing great things in technology, it’s massive for the economy.

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Chris, we built more than just one successful train after modernization, Deltics, 125s, 225s, etc.

Do you not find it slightly suspicious that British heavy industry (mining, steel making, ship building, car making, train making, etc.) all more or less “just happened” to disappear at exactly the same time? In reality a decision was made decades ago at the highest levels behind closed doors to destroy Britain’s heavy industry.

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Our car industry? Every single last British car maker is owned by foreigners. Can you imagine France, Japan or Italy selling every single last one of their car makers to foreigners? Thanks for proving my point. Do you honestly think Nissan has the same place in Britain’s heart and soul as BMW, Mercedes, VW, Audi, Porsche do to the Germans? Or Peugeot, Citroen and Renault do to the French, Or Fiat and Ferrari to the Italians? Having industry in our own hands is not the same as destroying your own industries only so a foreign company can set up a… Read more »

SoleSurvivor
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SoleSurvivor

Yes Stephen OUR car industry, industry is the production of goods, not who owns it for gods sake, there really is no help with you. So I have not proved any point for you. “Can you imagine France, Japan or Italy selling every single last one of their car makers to foreigners?” I can if they made rubbish cars in the 70’s and 80’s like we did, our mass production car companies were ran terribly with no investment, you need to read about the decline of British Leyland/Rover Group/MG Rover. That was our BMW or our VW, and they failed.… Read more »

David Taylor
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David Taylor

I agree with all of this apart from one tiny thing; everybody made crap cars in the 70s! British cars were crap. American cars were crap. French cars, um, crap. Italian cars, um, stylish crap. VW’s weren’t that great either. I think only Sweden made nice cars at that time. The German car industry back then was a different beast. Both VW and BMW had very small ranges compared with what they have today; back in the 60s British makes had lots of models and lots of badge engineering to confuse the marketing. I do wonder what would have happened… Read more »

SoleSurvivor
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SoleSurvivor

Mm I’m not sure I entirely agree with that statement David. The Golf MK1 was released in 74! when it hit Britain we couldn’t get enough of it, it’s still VW’s best selling car to this day. BMW released the 3, 5 and 7 series in the 70’s along with the first M sport. Those lines are still going strong today. And of course we know how well the Japanese did, the Datson in the early 70’s. I’m not sure about French and Italian cars, what I think is the Germans and Japanese absolutely smashed it in the late 60’s/70’s… Read more »

Julian
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Julian

“You mentioned Renault, they are part of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance. FIAT and Chrysler group are joined.” You got there before me SoleSurvivor. I was going to mention just that in response to the “Can you imagine … Italy selling every single last one of their car makers to foreigners? … Do you honestly think Nissan has the same place in Britain’s heart and soul as … Fiat and Ferrari to the Italians? “. For completeness, Ferrari is also part of and 90% owned by the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Group which is headquartered in the Netherlands. A quick web search tells… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H0 David Taylor – I guess it depends how you define ‘crap’! We in the UK designed most of the iconic and ground breaking cars in the ’60s to ’80s. The Mini for example but one could list many. Even our Pressed Tool and bodywork assembly was as good as anyone. Pressed Steel developed ‘electrocoat’ painting, full mould casting, robotic welding and assembly, robotic adhesive and sealant application and robotic painting amongst many other industry firsts. Yes long before the Germans and their plastic fuel tanks were better than VW ones. Pressed Steel was the largest independent manufacturer of… Read more »

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

Julian I couldn’t agree more, if you look at a whole host of multi nationals you can see lots of private investment from investment firms from the US to Singapore. And when you breakdown the shareholders it’s usually not a case of 100% nationality being the same as the brand. It seems to be a problem for some that some of our companies are owned by “foreigners” and it’s usually cars being the main focal point of anger and despair, yet I see no complaints about Tetley or Cadbury, or even better I never see any complaints about premier league… Read more »

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

You can’t see any problem with our undoubted British genius being used almost exclusively to make money for foreigners? You know which other country has done this? None. It is a humiliation for Britain. It is not just some things, if it was just some things we could accept it, it is practically everything (power generation, car making, railways, mining, train making, steel making, etc., etc., etc.). Indeed it has been to such an extent in Britain that it has very obviously been planned, this has been done on purpose for some reason, there is absolutely no way it could… Read more »

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

You guys mention only a bare few foreign car companies who are owned by foreigners, like I say the U.S.A., France, Germany, Japan, Italy, etc. have not sold every single last one of theirs to foreigners, and they never would, let alone do that and sell all their powers station, railways, other industries, etc., on top of that like we have.

Gregg
Guest
Gregg

Absolutely spot on Stephen, I’m completely with you I find myself nodding along with everything you say, it has went too far.

Max
Guest
Max

Just what we need, more crap floating around up there…Have these people not seen WALL-E? Seriously though…there must be 10’s of thousands of small objects in differing orbits..50 years from now it could be a real issue.

Julian
Guest
Julian

I think there are at least some proposals for technologies to clear some of it away. It’s definitely a known problem that people in the field are worried about. Hopefully at some point at leas5 one of these technologies will become practical and we as a species can start picking up at least some of our space litter. Wasn’t there some episode a few years ago when some country (China? But I could be absolutely wrong on that) tested one of their anti-satellite technologies by, instead of de-orbiting one of their satellites that had reached the end of its life,… Read more »

Steve M
Guest
Steve M

Actually the RemoveDEBRIS satellite was launched in June to test this very thing. Made by Surrey Satellite Technology as well! It’s going to test nets and harpoons for retrieving debris I believe as early as October? My dates could be wrong.

John H
Guest
John H

To Sole Survivor

I’ve never posted here before but bravo, it’s great to hear somebody talking facts about British manufacturing and innovation. The world never stands still, the UK manufactures more than it has ever done in its history (fact) and we are well placed for the industries of the future. Taken as a whole package, good bits and bad, there is no country in the world I’d rather call home.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Guest
Levi Goldsteinberg

I think we’ll all believe it when we see it. Until then, I’ll not be getting my hopes up

Chris
Guest
Chris

Given the UK has established itself as a world leading satellite manufacturer and communications centre it was only a matter of time (as launch costs reduced) that we would establish our own launch centres. Without wishing to stir a Brexit debate, Brexit and more so the EU’s treatment of the UK, has actually triggered two big developments. Or at least brought them forward with major Government backing – Tempest because Airbus and Dassault under the EU’s blessing gave us and the Italians the finger and this after we were made ‘persona non grata’ by the EU over Galileo. What makes… Read more »

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Even “our” satellite makers are owned by foreigners (SSTL and Clyde Space). I wonder if the Chinese satellite makers are owned by foreigners. Or Japan’s. Or Korea’s. Or India’s, etc. This is done to such an extent and in every single field (railways, power generation, mining, steel making, tilting train, Zephyr, everything) that it is obviously being done deliberately, it is government policy, regardless of who is in power to use Britain exclusively to make money for foreigners. There is no way it can possibly be happening to this extent by accident, someone is deliberately making sure this happens. It… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) Stephen – You seriously need help. You are finding Conspiracies where there are none. And don’t try speaking for ‘us British people’ – these are all your opinions and thats fine. But not everyone shares them. And actually I do want our country run this way because its all private money. I have no say in it and that suits me. Now if it was taxpayers money thats a different matter but we are talking cars and trains here. Private cars and private trains. So brave lad – “we are not going along with this any longer either.”… Read more »

Julian
Guest
Julian

Still on my virtual “196th country” thing, you do realise Stephen that this is 2-way traffic I hope, i.e. a network of relationships and ownership and not simply the U.K. flogging off everything. Heavy buying of US companies by the UK has been going on for decades. Despite us just dropping to second place on the singe-year figures for 2017 (overtaken by Canada with $59.083bn invested in the USA in 2017 vs $54.243 from the U.K. – https://www.bea.gov/data/intl-trade-investment/new-foreign-direct-investment-united-states) cumulatively we are still the single biggest foreign investor in the USA by a big margin and support over 1 million jobs… Read more »

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

I “need help” because I don’t want practically every single thing owned by foreigners? The Japanese must “need help” their railways, power generation, industries, satellite makers, etc. are not all owned by foreigners. The Chinese must also “need help”. So must Korea. And India. No other country on Earth is doing this to anything like this level. This is humiliating for Britain in front of the eyes of the World, it makes it look like we are incapable of doing a single thing for our selves, which we are not. Who is this “we”, most British people do not want… Read more »

Julian
Guest
Julian

Oh, for goodness sake. This is such a case of confirmation bias. You see the things you want to see in order to confirm your preconceptions and discount all other data. How about all the US workers working for UK and other non-USA companies(*)? That’s estimated in that CBI report that I linked to in another response as over 1 million US workers supported just by British inward investments. How about all the BAE subsidiaries? BP – 5 different BP employees and their families have rented flats in my block when they were posted over to the UK for a… Read more »

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Look, no one is saying we should make every single thing for ourselves or that every single company in the U.K. has to be British, but it has went too far the other way, we make practically nothing for ourselves compared with other comparable countries (France, Germany, Japan, Italy) and practically every single thing is owned by foreigners (power generation, railways, industry, etc.). No other country has pushed things to these absurd lengths. We need to buy at least some things back, and invest in, and support, at least some British owned industries.

Julian
Guest
Julian

Still on my virtual “196th country” thing, you do realise Stephen that this is 2-way traffic I hope, i.e. a network of relationships and ownership and not simply the U.K. flogging off everything. Heavy buying of US companies by the UK has been going on for decades. Despite us just dropping to second place on the singe-year figures for 2017 (overtaken by Canada with $59.083bn invested in the USA in 2017 vs $54.243 from the U.K. – https://www.bea.gov/data/intl-trade-investment/new-foreign-direct-investment-united-states) cumulatively we are still the single biggest foreign investor in the USA by a big margin and support over 1 million jobs… Read more »

Julian
Guest
Julian

Still on my virtual “196th country” thing, you do realise Stephen that this is 2-way traffic I hope, i.e. a network of relationships and ownership and not simply the U.K. flogging off everything. Heavy buying of US companies by the UK has been going on for decades. Despite us just dropping to second place on the singe-year figures for 2017 (overtaken by Canada with $59.083bn invested in the USA in 2017 vs $54.243 from the U.K. – link deleted because the site blocks my post when it has two links in it, will try to post seperately) cumulatively we are… Read more »

Julian
Guest
Julian

Here is the link I had to delete from the above post that gives the single-year 2017 data…

https://www.bea.gov/data/intl-trade-investment/new-foreign-direct-investment-united-states

Julian
Guest
Julian

And while I’m here, to save anyone having to Google for that Sterling Assets 9 report, here is the link …

http://www.cbi.org.uk/cbi-prod/assets/File/pdf/cbi-sterling-assets-9.PDF

The report does talk about both US investment into the UK and UK investment into the USA so don’t read the intro and think it is only the former, it does cover both.

Steve M
Guest
Steve M

Just a thought, without privately owned companies and all that comes with that, we probably wouldn’t have ANY space manufacturing in the UK at all. It’s only recently that the government has started taking an interest again.

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) There is an interesting and relevant article in the Sunday Telegraph today saying The PM has ordered a totally British satellite system to compete with the EU’s Galileo system. Hammond has signed of £100 Mn to ‘map out’ how this will be achieved.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/08/25/theresa-may-orders-space-race-brexit-sat-nav-system-rival-eus/

The British Bulldog rises from its slumbers and remembers how to growl …

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

No other option for the government really, the footprint and skills are already here as we have built so much in the Galileo program. If the EU are barring us from work, as well as restricting our access this is the only and right option we have. All I’m concerned about is funding, but this is an infastructure project that will create jobs and create money. So if we have to borrow it we have to borrow. We have the first £1bn anyway from what we are demanding back from this project. I know there was a FT article the… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

(Chris H) SoleSurvivor – I have the impression that now we are freeing ourselves from the EU we are getting more interest in projects and co-working from the members of ‘5 Eyes’ and especially the Aussies. And as I recall didn’t the UK establish the Woomera rocket range many decades ago in Australia when we were building our own advanced rockets and missiles? What better place to have a satellite tracking / communications base for the Southern Hemisphere (apart from New Zealand)

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

Which company will build this “totally British” satellite?

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Some more excellent and exciting news!
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45314954