The formation of a new Space Partnership is being announced today, bringing together industry, academia and government stakeholders to work together on priority issues to realise the ambitions set out in the National Space Strategy (NSS), and to grow the UK space sector. The Space Partnership will draw on expert knowledge and insight from across the whole space ecosystem and work collaboratively to support those activities which require a whole-of-sector approach including the evolution and delivery of UK space policy.
This exciting development follows the trial of the concept in the National Space Partnership Pilot, which concluded in March 2022, and builds on the work undertaken by the Space Growth Partnership since 2016. The pilot concluded that a model which is broad, continuous and embraces knowledge and expertise from across the whole sector and nation, is vital to the success of future space policy and for delivering the associated economic growth.
The space sector ecosystem is changing rapidly, and the creation of the Space Partnership reflects the need to focus and engage with a wider audience to promote the advancement of the UK’s space ambition. The establishment of the BEIS Space Directorate and the National Space Board provides government with a clear mechanism to work with other sector stakeholders through the Space Partnership to achieve the National Space Strategy objectives.
Central to the success of the Space Partnership will be a small, independent team of dedicated experts led by a Space Partnership Director, supported by secondees from the sector. This team will be co-funded by the UK Space Agency and hosted by the Satellite Applications Catapult. Recruitment of the Space Partnership Director commences immediately.
Once activities get underway, the Space Partnership will seek to develop and share tangible proposals across the sector to capitalise on the many opportunities to advance the UKs strategic space goals and ambitions.
Graham Peters, Board Chair, Space Partnership said: “The UK’s Space sector was transformed when government, industry and academia together developed the space Innovation Growth Strategy in 2010. I am delighted that this collaboration can now move to a new footing with a properly resourced core team working across the sector to support the implementation of the UK’s first National Space Strategy.”
Minister for Science, Research and Innovation George Freeman said: “Our £16.5bn space sector delivers huge benefits to the UK’s economy and society, and to ensure we deliver the key ambition of our National Space Strategy – to grow an innovative commercial space industry – it is essential that the space community works collaboratively across the whole sector; bringing together researchers, policymakers, small companies and industry.
“Our £1.5m funding for the Space Partnership through the UK Space Agency is a sign of our commitment to build a broader UK space sector, drawing on expertise across companies – big and small – in the industry to seize the many opportunities ahead.”
Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “The UK has a thriving space sector, which is well-established and globally respected, employing 47,000 people and generating an annual income of £16.5 billion. We are committed to growing this exciting sector further by catalysing investment, delivering missions and capabilities and championing space.
“We’re backing the Space Partnership that brings together government, industry and academia to work together for the benefit of the sector as a whole and deliver the ambitions set out in the National Space Strategy.”
Stuart Martin, CEO, Satellite Applications Catapult said: “The Space Partnership fills a vital gap in the UK space landscape, providing continuous access to independent, cross-sector expertise on space policy. It will ensure that the whole sector is engaged in informing policy makers, capturing all the strengths and opportunities the sector has to offer. The Catapult is pleased to be supporting the Space Partnership, and we look forward to seeing the difference it can make at this exciting time for the industry.”
Prof. Mark Sims (University of Leicester) co-chair of SPAN, on behalf of co-chair Prof. Kate Robson Brown (University of Bristol), said: “The Space Partnership will enable the sector to work on policy and topics that are of great importance to academia, industry and Government enabling a consensus on areas of strategic importance following inputs from all elements of the sector. Academia via the Space Academic Network (SPAN) is very happy to support the Space Partnership, providing an academic input and view, and participate in this important work to achieve the National Space Strategy and the sector’s objectives and growth.”
John Hanley, Chair of UKspace said: “The UK’s space industry has benefited from working in close partnership with Government and the research base. We welcome the creation of the Space Partnership which will build upon these foundations and put real resources behind this collaborative approach. The Space Partnership will be an important mechanism to ensure industrial involvement in shaping the next steps towards delivery of the National Space Strategy.”