Astroscale welcomes UKspace report urging government to increase investment in space sector innovation and industry

Posted December 7th, 2020 Posted in News

Harwell, Oxfordshire: Today’s report “Securing Our Future in Space,” commissioned by the UK trade association UKspace, outlines urgently needed government investment to help drive innovation and job creation, and to support UK businesses to be at the forefront of the global space economy.

John Auburn, Managing Director of Astroscale UK, and Chief Commercial Officer at Astroscale Holdings, comments: “We welcome this report and our space industry partners’ shared vision to accelerate the development of our innovation programmes, technology capabilities and services in the UK. The window of opportunity for the UK to capture global market share, especially in the in orbit satellite servicing (IOS) market, is over the next few years. We’re delighted to be working in partnership with the UK government to develop cutting-edge projects that will generate revenue and create jobs for the UK space economy.”

Astroscale will launch the world’s first commercial debris removal demonstration mission in low Earth orbit (LEO) in March 2021; ELSA-d has been developed with UK-led business development and engineering expertise, and supported by ground control capabilities at the In-Orbit Servicing Centre – National Facility (IOCC) at the Satellite Applications Catapult at Harwell. The ELSA-d mission will be the first mission operated by the IOCC National Facility, thanks to a £4 million UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) award in 2018.

As Co-Chair of the In-Orbit Service Manufacturing (IOSM) working group at UKspace, John Auburn adds: “We see UK companies developing significant global market share through IOS for both LEO and geostationary satellites, including debris removal and life extension, but more investment and partnership opportunities are needed to transform innovative ideas and technology into viable and sustainable commercial products and services.”

The latest UKspace report outlines bold steps to increase spending at the Space Innovation Fund, create a National Procurement Fund, and establish a Space Delivery Agency to drive forward an industrial programme of complex, hi-tech innovations.

Jason Forshaw, Head of Future Business at Astroscale concludes, “We see numerous opportunities to develop our capabilities, product and service offerings at Astroscale, and to build on our partnerships with organisations such as the UK Space Agency, UKRI, Satellite Applications Catapult, the European Space Agency and UK-based satellite operators and space companies involved in the IOS supply chain. Capitalising on the recommendations in this UKspace report will enable rapid growth in the space sector, and position the UK as a serious player in the global space economy.”

Read the latest UKspace report: Securing our Future in Space.​