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.

 

48 COMMENTS

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

    • 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 landing, refurb, servicing etc facilities at the spaceport it is apparently going to be closer to “a few sheds and a patch of tarmac in a field” than it is to Farnborough Airport for instance, at least initially.

      Presumably the horizontal launch facility down south is going to be a lot more complex.

  2. 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

    • 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.

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

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

  3. 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….

  4. 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 player in designing and building space rockets using our space program and our space ports to do this with. This is what practically every single other country in the World with a space program has done and we must too. This Prime rocket of Orbex’s sounds very promising and it must be only the start, we must kick on from here designing and building bigger and better rockets as the years go by.

    Skylon is another thing which must be funded under all circumstances, a lot of sins would be forgiven if we can pull that off, and keep it in British hands and not give it away like they always do.

    I am glad to hear about the horizontal spaceport in Cornwall too. All in all, a good piece of news and a lot to be optimistic about.

    • “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 cars made last year.

      We still make more or less the same amount of cars than France, the Nissan plant in the North East has before made more cars than Italy does in a year!

      We are second only to Germany in Europe for the manufacture of engines, we have two Ford plants making engines, 2.7m engines we made last year, over 50% going overseas.

      Models of Mercedes cars have British made electronics, a BMW model has a British made engine and gearbox. A Bugatti Veryon has British interior and drive train.

      Look at the luxury cars we make in Britain. Nearly every hollywood celebrity has a British made Range Rover.

      8 out of 11 F1 teams are based in Britain, every single F1 car on track has British made components. 75% of the global, yes global Motorsport industries R&D is done in Britain. We have a gearbox factory that provided British made gearboxes to Indy car, Dakar rally and F1 teams. We are the global centre of excellence in the Motorsport industry.

      You said the other day when the Hawk stops being produced we wont have an aerospace industry left, you think the Hawk is our industry? our aerospace industry is the fourth largest in the world, it’s not just BAE you know, who happen to be the third largest defence contractor in the world, we have Britten-Norman, Cobham, GKN, Hybrid Air Vehicles, Meggitt, QinetiQ, Ultra Electronics and Rolls Royce, who are the second biggest manufacture of aero engines in the world.

      I wont name the foreign aerospace companies who have a massive footprint in Britain as it might offend you, but it’s substantial, with our companies it employs 130k people, and another 120k indirectly.

      You keep going on about train carriages, ok so we don’t make trains anymore, but back when we did we did not have over 10,000 new technology and software companies starting up, yes that’s starting up annually. You ever heard of tech city in London, it’s grown to be a world leading technology hub.

      Instead of thinking train carriages try the software in your phone and satnav, web development, the ARM microprocessors in your tech, oyster card system and many, many more. everything you do in your life from applying for a job and them doing a backround check on you, the digital technology used to do that is British.

      The British digital technology sector is growing faster than the economy as a whole, 4.5%. It’s absolutely booming, £185b to the economy last year, the tech sector employs 1.1 million people! did we have 1.1 million people building train carriages?

      Mineral fuels, plastics, nuclear reactor parts, pharmaceuticals, electrical appliances, jewelry, beverages, chemical products, resinoids, cosmetics, books for crying out loud, clothing accessories.

      British manufacturing is 9th in the world, down from 6th or 7th before the financial crash, but starting to recover and at the growth we were at before we were predicted to be in the top 5.

      In absolute terms we have never made more stuff in Britain, so please, please, the foreigners are not building everything, we British are still building and inventing a hell of a lot of products.

      • (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, why have Siemens, Knorr Bremse, Alstom, Thales and others invested so heavily in British people and businesses. Its not because of cheap labour.

        And that is before we get on to Bombardier, based in Derby, being the largest train manufacturer in the UK supporting a huge supply chain delivering thousands of carriages and that their entire transportation design and development centre is right here in the UK. Hitachi have a factory in Newton Aycliffe, Siemens are building one near Hull and CAF of Spain are building yet another in Newport. Alstom have a big facility in Widnes.

        There is a growing push on exports which is meeting with some success despite the built in walls of state owned / part owned train manufacturers in Germany and France where they ensure all supply chains are locally based.

        And this is before we get to £ Bns of new High Speed trains now under bid process that will see 250 MPH trains built here in the UK.

        The British railway story is, despite some mighty upcocks and the best efforts of the RMT, one of huge success and renewal.

        • 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 keep foreign train makers going? The describing it as “a huge success”? We are not doing this either.

          250 m.p.h. foreign trains built in the U.K. We could EASILY have had a British company design and build our own trains, we don’t need a foreign company to do this for us. Do you honestly think Flying Scotsman, Mallard, Intercity 125, etc. would mean as much to us if they were by a foreign company?

          • (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 factory in Derby was bought by ABB, then ASEA and then Bombardier. Its called capitalism and a free market economy. British investors had as much chance as Swedish or Canadian. Go shout at them not the people who are investing £ Bns in UK manufacturing and employing 10s of thousands of workers in the process.

            I am all for British engineering, design and investment and especially when taxpayers money is being used (as in FSS ships) but no taxpayer’s money is involved here. So if a privately owned company wishes to invest its own money in a train and chooses a Japanese owned company thats fine by me. If UK managers were so bloody stupid they managed great British companies into bankruptcy then don’t blame foreign owned companies when they buy the scraps.

            Not sure quite where Sir Nigel Gresley has any relevance here at all. Don’t forget the great British railway companies were destroyed as much by the Labour party in ’48 as by WWII. And when you look at the useless piles of crap British Rail produced after it finished with steam tells me we had somehow lost the plot in heavy engineering design and manufacture. Name me ONE UK built diesel engine that worked as designed and then kept working. We have built ONE successful train since ‘Modernisation’ – The HST. if our capabilities under British Rail were so great why has the freight sector bought over 400 US manufactured Class 59, 66, 67 and 70 and then went to Spain for Class 68 and 88? And don’t even get me started on the Nightstar debacle …

        • 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.

          • 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.

      • 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 factory in its place. It is not the same thing at all. Britain is being used solely to make money for foreigners. It is a humiliation.

        Then you talk about making a few bits and pieces for foreign products and act like it is just the same as designing and building our own product in that field. It isn’t.

        Look at Range Rover, owned by Indians! (Do you think BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, Toyota, Nissan, Ferrari, Honda, Misubishi, etc. are owned by foreigners?).

        • 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.

          So what came out of that? what other large automotive company was going to buy Jaguar and Land Rover Stephen? there was no British company big and successful enough to, so BMW and Ford bought them and then sold them to Tata.

          Mini? the Rover group failed with the Mini Stephen, thank heavens BMW bought it, invested, £100m in oxford in 2005, and reinvented it, look how successful the Mini is now.

          If foreign companies never stepped in and bought these iconic British brands, they would of gone the same way as Austin, Morris, Austin-Healey, Jenson, Reliant and Triumph.

          All the other British car brands are luxury cars, some have gone bankrupt multiple times and changed owners multiple times, and you know what i’m glad they are owned by large successful multi national companies like BMW and VW. And who the hell are you to dictate who owns these luxury car brands? they have been changing hands since the 30’s and most have never been owned by the government. It’s up to the person running the company to decide who he wants to sell HIS company to.

          American Brands Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep are part owned by FIAT.

          All the big auto makers are massive multi national companies that own lots of brands.

          You mentioned Renault, they are part of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance.

          FIAT and Chrysler group are joined.

          Ford own brands in China, Brazil, Russia.

          “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?”

          Why on earth would Nissan? Aston Martin do, designed and built in Britain, the majority ownership is British, that does not really fit your narrative of “every single last British car maker does it but hey ho.

          “Then you talk about making a few bits and pieces for foreign products and act like it is just the same as designing and building our own product in that field. It isn’t.”

          You need help.

          “Look at Range Rover, owned by Indians!”

          Who cares? Jaguar Land Rover Automotive PLC is a British company, headquarters in Coventry, it’s two chief designers are British. It is registered in Britain under UK law, it pays tax, has created thousands of jobs and invested billions in the UK

          Those pesky Indian owners how dare they create loads of jobs and pay loads of tax.

          • 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 if there were just Austins and fewer models. VW and BMW only started to expand their ranges in the 80s just as the wheels fell off Austin Rover; the brand was too tainted by then and Brits being more ‘free market’ minded than Germans, French, or Italians voted with their wallets. Continentals would buy anything their national brands would make we didn’t. So as the technology and materials improved through the 80s those foreign brands who made crap cars just as crappily as UK makers did were still extant. Why are roads are full of VAG products today I don’t know, could it be the mysterious machinations of the EU? I do wonder whether BMW buying Rover off BAE was more about them doing a hatchet job; I do wonder why BMW couldn’t have made a success out of Rover if VAG did the same for SEAT and Skoda. I know why we buy Japanese because Japanese brands were one of the alternatives we looked to when Austin Rover were building crap and the Japanese brands haven’t let us down. As an aside we now buy more Korean cars than we buy FIAT’s, we Brits aren’t very brand loyal. But everybody built crap cars in the 70s. 🙂

          • 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 with innovative cutting edge designs and they haven’t looked back since.

            There was a documentary on BBC couple of years ago with James May, it was a three parter about the British motor industry and it was fascinating to watch, and a lot of it was about Germany and Japan and how they rebuilt after the war and the impact their cars had in the U.K. and the impact that had on the British manufacturers.

            So there were a lot of factors involved in the fall of British Leyland, bad management, not enough investment, and competing against better designed and better built cars, which the consumer was buying instead of theirs. The writing was on the wall for them unfortunately.

          • “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 me that there are 195 countries on the planet (depending on exactly how one defines a country). In discussing this stuff I tend to arrive at the conclusion that there is actually an extra country, a virtual one that spans the realms of international stock markets, venture capital funding, and the international network of corporate governance arrangements and tax treaties. One can’t really say any more that a big international company is simply “British” or “French” or “Italian”, rather they inhabit this 196th virtual country of finance, tax and governance where from day to day the balance of who actually owns them in terms of traditional nationality, presumably needing to be calculated by analysing the passposts of every single stakeholder in a given company (which would be very complicated because if for instance a company had 10% private equity funding one would then need to look whether that private equity fund was itself a collective enterprise, e.g. a stock-market-listed investment trust somewhere, and then analyse the PE IT’s shareholder distribution in terms of nationality). It’s a constantly shifting and not always entirely clear picture.

            For me what is more important is the expertise and production tools that physically reside within a country than matters. If some UK private venture (before it gets big enough to disappear into that “196th country”) starts up and needs to recruit the sort of manufacturing expertise that can be found in the cutting edge of the automotive industry then having that pool of talent at the Nissan factory for instance that it can go fishing in to recruit its first manufacturing director and other appropriate staff is what will help it flourish and it won’t care one jot if the excellent staff it poaches are from Nissan or from some 100% British company. It’s the expertise that matters and we have a lot of that in the UK in both design and manufacturing.

          • (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 car bodies and car body tooling in the world and exported globally

            So we had the design and engineering capabilities but it was the overall lack of corporate investment and zero quality control where we got it wrong. Management was driven by quarterly profit results demanded by the bankers and failed to provide forward capital. This drove huge mergers which just made the fault lines bigger. And then they heard of ‘diversification’! Pressed Steel made domestic refrigerators, railway rolling stock and even light aircraft ( Beagle). It wasn’t the engineering it was inadequate, arrogant and completely dumb management (aided and abetted by idiot trade unions) that spoiled too many ships for a barrel of tar.

            All cars rusted at an alarming rate. I remember unpainted Austin / Morris 1100 bodyshells on open trucks 6 or 8 a time trundling from Swindon Pressed Steel to Austin in Longbridge and Morris in Cowley in all weathers, Winter salted roads and all. My cousin proudly showed us his one year old ex demo Golf Mk I GTI and there were rust bubbles in the front wings. And so it went on.

            You spotted why BMW bought ARG in ’94 – It was to remove a complete range of cars from the market place and seize the two brands that had actually survived, improved and were unique – Mini and Range Rover. BMW sold off Land Rover separately to Ford in 2000 but held on to Range Rover until 2006 to get hold of all the brilliant off road and design cues to then build there X series. That was then also sold to Ford who had also snatched Jaguar. JLR was then sold to Tata when Ford itself started to disintegrate due to building crap cars.

            Ford of course don’t build cars in the UK and are just another foreign import range. I doubt Bridgend will survive after they stop building engines for JLR now JLR have possibly the most advanced engine plant in Europe.

            What goes round comes round

          • 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 football teams, the most supported and most successful being foreign owned.

            And like in your comment further down it works both ways, and a prime example for both these points is the second largest company in Europe, BP, it not only bought a lot of large British companies it also purchased standard oil of Ohio, ARCO and Amoco from the US. And BP’s chairman is Swedish, it’s corporate structure ranges from investment firms and banks in the US and London to a bank in Norway. Yet it’s still a British company, supporting over a 100k jobs here and contributed over £10b to he economy each year.

            “For me what is more important is the expertise and production tools that physically reside within a country than matters.”

            Precisely, it’s the industry that matters, and like Chris said in his comment the expertise and engineering never left, it has stayed and flourished. I really can’t see any problem in the parent group of a successful British company that is manufacturing and investing in the U.K. is overseas.

          • 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 have happened to this extent unless it was planned out this way. The government deliberately doesn’t support British heavy industry and hasn’t for decades, they have in fact waged a deliberate and organized war against British heavy industry. Every single chance they get they don’t support it (Harrier, TSR2, tilting train, intercity 250, R.F.A. tankers, etc., etc., etc.). And if anything ever does emerge like Zephyr it is instantly sold to foreigners. Britain’s heavy industry hasn’t practically disappeared by accident it was all done deliberately. It was planned this way.

            It is government policy that Britain’s heavy industry must be destroyed or owned by foreigners.

          • 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.

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

  5. 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.

    • 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, firing a missile at it and blowing it up. There was a lot of international backlash about that specifically because of the gratuitous amount of small orbiting fragments that they created by blowing the thing to smithereens rather than doing a clean de-orbit.

      • 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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 me really smile is that Galileo without the UK, its overseas territories and satellites will just stop developing further. What is already up in space needs UK encrypted comms- the very ones the EU seems to think they can bar us from using. Ooops!

    We now have two platforms to show British technology and aerospace capabilities off to the world and not, as in the past, have our capabilities subsumed as some bit part player within a blue flagged ‘euro’ project.

  8. 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 is absolutely disgusting to us British people. We do not want our country run this way. No other country on Earth is doing this, we are not going along with this any longer either.

    • (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.” Really? who is this ‘we’? and what precisely are you going to do about it. Buy Tata, Nissan, BMW, VW, Honda and Toyota out? Some piggy bank you have there Stephen …

      • 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 in the USA (http://www.cbi.org.uk/insight-and-analysis/uk-still-usa-s-strongest-investment-partner-at-569bn-cbi-eli-lilly/). I don’t want to post a third link because I think that will get my post put into the moderation queue but for further details on that final link Google “CBI Sterling Assets 9 report” (without the quotes) and the first hit should be a link to the full PDF.

      • 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 this.

        If you can’t see that this has all been done on purpose (it couldn’t possibly have been done to this extent unless it was planned) then you are brain-dead.

        “Brave lad” lol, that’s rich coming from someone calling people childish names hidden behind a keyboard, run along little keyboard warrior.

        • 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 few years from either Texas or Alaska – BP employs lots of people in the USA? AstraZeneca – I have a friend working in the UK for an AZ group that sprung up from AZ purchasing outright a $15.7bn US company in 2007 and that AZ-owned group still has a huge number of staff working for it in the USA? GSK R&D sites in the USA? The list goes on.

          As for Japan, the mighty Sony is 56.6% foreign-owned and the trend of foreign ownership of Japanese companies is increasing (https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Markets/Stocks/Foreign-ownership-surges-at-big-Japanese-companies).

          (*) As far as any major international company can be thought of as having a specific nationality.

          • 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.

    • 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 in the USA (http://www.cbi.org.uk/insight-and-analysis/uk-still-usa-s-strongest-investment-partner-at-569bn-cbi-eli-lilly/). I don’t want to post a third link because I think that will get my post put into the moderation queue but for further details on that final link Google “CBI Sterling Assets 9 report” (without the quotes) and the first hit should be a link to the full PDF.

    • 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 still the single biggest foreign investor in the USA by a big margin and support over 1 million jobs in the USA (http://www.cbi.org.uk/insight-and-analysis/uk-still-usa-s-strongest-investment-partner-at-569bn-cbi-eli-lilly/). I don’t want to post a third link because I think that will get my post put into the moderation queue but for further details on that final link Google “CBI Sterling Assets 9 report” (without the quotes) and the first hit should be a link to the full PDF.

    • 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.

    • 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 other month hinting at Australia being involved, it would help with costs so that would certainly not be a problem with me.

      • (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)

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