in Space

UK space science investment generating income and jobs

Posted 31 January 2020 · Add Comment

Every pound invested in the design and development of space science missions like Solar Orbiter, results in between £2.50 and £4 in returns, a new report shows.



Above: The European Space Agency (ESA) mission, Solar Orbiter, at the Sun
Courtesy UK Space Agency


The study found that £523 million of UK Space Agency funding put into the European Space Agency’s Space Science Programme (SSP) has generated £1.4 billion of income for UK industry, with a further £1.1 billion from partially attributed and forecast benefits.

The investment, between 2000-2018, created 306 jobs. The UK industry regularly secures major ESA contracts to provide mission spacecraft platforms, support mission operations and develop major subsystems.

To support UK involvement in the build and data exploitation of the science instruments themselves, the UK Space Agency provides separate funding to the academic community.

One of the missions addressed by the report, Solar Orbiter, is due to launch in February. This will take the most detailed images ever of the Sun and provide crucial information about how our star’s volatile activity affects its atmosphere. This knowledge will help improve predictions of space weather events, which can disrupt and damage satellites.

The UK is at the heart of this ESA mission, with Airbus at Stevenage winning the contract to design and build the spacecraft. This could become the template for an operational programme to monitor and warn us of approaching Space Weather. Meanwhile Imperial College London and UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory are leading international teams to design and build two instruments while the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s RAL Space and UCL are major contributors to two more and from which future operational requirements will be defined.

Chris Lee, Chief Scientist at the UK Space Agency, said: "Having a major role in space science programmes is like playing in the Champions League. Technology doesn’t get much harder than this and the insights these missions offer and the skills they create permeate the entire UK space economy – supporting our leading role in areas such as telecommunications, Earth observation and weather satellites."

The report, commissioned by the UK Space Agency, also found the UK’s investments in space science have led to the development of new skills in the sector and improved facilities, such as clean rooms, computing and mechanical equipment.

In November the UK Space Agency joined all ESA member states in supporting a 10% rise to the overall space science budget, taking the UK’s share to around £600 million over a five-year period. This will increase the number and ambition of space science missions, including missions to use gravitational waves to study black holes and to intercept and study a pristine comet in our solar system.

SSP is designed to undertake scientific research concerning the solar system, our Sun and the Universe beyond. At the same time, the programme is charged with stimulating competitive industrial capability.

In addition to these direct industrial contractual benefits, UK investment aims to facilitate technology transfer, industrial-academic knowledge transfer, and contribute to the UK skills base by attracting and developing young talented scientists and engineers through high profile missions.

The evaluation focused on a sub-set of seven SSP missions: Bepi-Colombo, Gaia, Herschel, James Webb Space Telescope, Lisa Pathfinder, Planck and Solar Orbiter.#


 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Aerobility launches Armchair Airshow

Scheduled for 20th June and free to view, the Armchair Airshow 2020, organised by disabled flying charity Aerobility, promises live pilot interviews, walk-throughs and never before seen air-display and in-cockpit footage.

Kaman delivers 80,000th F-35 rear fuselage packer to BAE Systems

Kaman UK has delivered its 80,000th rear fuselage packer to BAE Systems for its F-35 manufacturing programme.

Kromek awarded $5.2m DARPA contract extension

County Durham headquartered Kromek has been awarded an extension to its contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency of the US Department of Defense, to detect and identify pathogens in an urban

Dstl pioneers future submarine command space

Dstl analysis is optimising information flow in the design of command space in future submarines to optimise information flow.

UK commits new funding to combat space debris

The UK Government has committed funding for innovative solutions to tackle the growing problem of potentially hazardous space debris.

Aircraft deliveries hit record low for April

Global aircraft orders and deliveries in April were heavily affected in the crisis caused by the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Atkins SK1405170620
See us at
DVD 2020SMI favws BT0602040620