Government investment brings UK one step closer to commercial spaceflight

The UK’s space sector received another boost today after the government announced new grants to help the UK develop its commercial launch capability for spaceflight.

The Transport and Science Ministers also provided an updated timetable for the legislation designed to facilitate and regulate commercial spaceflight, with a draft Spaceflight Bill to be released later this month. 

Commenting on the news, Mark Nisbett, a space sector specialist at RSM said:

‘Today’s announcement adds further impetus to the growing space sector in the UK, which today supports £250bn of output across the economy as well as 38,000 direct jobs. It also outperforms the wider economy in terms of both productivity and growth.

‘The UK’s geography makes it well placed for launch and sub orbital flight. However, it is facing stiff competition from around Europe. Today’s announcements will give the UK space sector a boost, and will enhance its attractive as a launchpad for overseas operators looking to service the strong UK satellite manufacturing market.

‘It’s interesting to note that international businesses from 35 countries have also been invited to apply for grants provided they submit joint proposals with one of the potential UK Spaceports and demonstrate the benefits that investment will bring to the UK. This sends a strong signal about the government’s commitment to global trade and increasing overseas investment in the UK post Brexit.

‘The UK already has world leading expertise in aerospace design, propulsion technology and satellite production due in part to the UK’s tax regime which offers favourable incentives both in terms of research and development tax credits and the UK Patent Box regime

‘UK businesses such as Orbital Access, and global groups such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, are already pushing ahead with their plans and today’s announcements will help them and others looking to make UK commercial spaceflight a reality.’