Industrial impacts of funding in UK space through ESA SSP

The mandatory ESA Space Science Programme (SSP) is designed first and foremost to undertake frontier 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.

Through a combination of direct and competitive procurement, UK industry regularly secures major ESA contracts to provide mission spacecraft platforms, support mission operations and develop major subsystems and subassemblies. To support UK involvement in the build and data exploitation of the science instruments themselves, the UK Space Agency provides national grant funding to academic and industrial space groups and national laboratories.

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.

With that in mind, Winning Moves was tasked with evaluating the impacts of UK funding through the ESA SSP. This evaluation, covering the period from 2000 to 2018, focused upon a sub-set of seven SSP missions: Bepi-Colombo, Gaia, Herschel, James Webb Space Telescope, Lisa Pathfinder, Planck and Solar Orbiter.  This covered an estimated £523.2 million of funding.

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