By February 1, 2020 Read More →

Space science investment delivers significant returns

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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.”

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