UK targets US and India as it boldly goes into the space exports sector

Government-backed trade missions are being mounted to the United States and India as the UK looks to leverage its expertise in the space sector by winning new export contracts.

The ‘Space Exports’ campaign specifically targets two of the world’s fastest growing space markets.

The UK space industry’s growth has been rapid, doubling in size since 2010, with exports growing to £5bn in 2014/15, or 36.4% of total income.

The new campaign will seek to increase the number of nations that are using the specialist products British businesses produce ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU.

The UK’s credentials to be a major player in the space sector are underlined by the fact that 40% of the world’s small satellites are built in this country.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said the UK would use the opportunity of leaving the European Union to make the most of global engagement with a sector that is growing 15 times faster than the rest of the UK economy.

Dr Fox said: “Our space industry is thriving as years of strong growth has seen the UK secure its reputation as a leading space nation.

“To sustain this, we need to be reaching new markets with huge potential like India and the USA. As an international economic department, we’ll achieve this through our new space exports programme, which will help meet the ambition of both government and industry to see space exports reach £40bn by 2030.

“With over a third of its business coming through overseas sales, the space sector is a great example of the benefits of seizing global opportunities which in turn create jobs back home.”

The trade missions will be led by newly-appointed Trade Commissioner, Anthony Philipson.

He said: “The space sector in the US presents tremendous opportunities for high-quality British goods and services. We are both nations with a rich heritage in space technology.

“Through the UK government’s extensive and expert trade and investment network, British business will be well-placed to make a major contributions to jobs, just as US firms will be in the UK. Together we can boost jobs and economic growth in both countries.”

Jason Pitt, CEO, Made In Group said: “The capabilities of the UK space industry are one of our best-kept secrets but the potential of the sector is huge and as we look to develop new markets ahead of leaving the EU, it is one ripe with opportunity.

“We will be actively encouraging our members to pursue such opportunities.”

Dr Jaime Reed, Industry Co-Chair of the Space Growth Partnership’s Space Exports Group added: “Industry and DIT have been working closely to build a solid evidence base demonstrating the potential for significant new UK business in major global markets. It’s fantastic to see the government committing to growth through these new announcements.”

However, the space sector is not the only one that can benefit from expansion into the US and India.

The UK’s aerospace companies carry a strong reputation around the globe and this has been exemplified by Derby-based Pattonair, which has recently announced an expansion of its manufacturing operation to Bangalore.

By opening their factory in Bangalore, Pattonair is aiming to tailor is  supply chain services to customers in the region. When the new facility opens it will be the latest in a succession of British-based companies in the city, with Airbus and Rolls-Royce also operating there.