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- June 30th, 2023 Posted in News

IOSM prioritiesThe UK is well placed and capable of securing 25% of the global satellite In-Orbit Servicing and Manufacturing (IOSM) market – estimated to be worth almost £11 billion[1] by 2031 – according to a new report published by UKspace today.

Through a combination of flagship national programmes and new technology development, complemented by the Government enabling a favourable business environment, the UKspace IOSM paper highlights what the UK should be focusing on to secure market share and be a global leader in space sustainability.

The four market opportunities that can be unlocked with investment are:

  1. Active Debris Removal (ADR) – a critical capability to protect our access to space. This addresses the rapidly growing threat of space debris and potential collisions in orbit which could disable the vital services that are provided from space to society. With up to 50,000 new satellites planned to be launched into Low Earth Orbit by 2030, humanity must protect the near-Earth space environment as we are now working to protect our atmosphere with capabilities such as ADR.
  2. Life Extension and Refuelling – by evolving the way space is done and consequently increasing satellite lifetimes, there would be increased revenues, reduced operating costs, new capabilities delivered, and greater flexibility. Additionally, these services will be exportable to the global space sector.
  3. Transportation and Logistics Infrastructure – the expected launch of thousands of new satellites in the next decade highlights the need for on-orbit logistics infrastructure, supported by a strong space transportation industry.
  4. Repair, Assembly & Manufacturing – In-Space Assembly and Manufacturing has two broad applications: Manufacturing and Assembly for use in space, and manufacturing for use on earth. In the future, life-limiting components will need maintaining or upgrading to meaningfully extend satellite lifetimes, further opening up the market opportunity for refuelling and creating a circular economy in space.

Produced collaboratively by representatives across the UK space industry, the paper recommends cross-cutting, short-term interventions to allow UK companies to retain access to all four of these areas.

As a recognised leader in satellite systems design, innovative finance, international collaboration and entrepreneurial creativity, the UK has the opportunity to capitalise on its strengths to lead the in-orbit economy of the 21st century.

Nick Shave, who chairs the IOSM Working Group at UKspace, said: “Being at the forefront of the new IOSM market is imperative for the UK. It will be the new logistics sector of the 21st century space economy and we must capitalise on our current industrial leadership in this new, rapidly growing subsector of the space industry.

“By taking a leading role, the UK has the opportunity to make a major contribution to ensure a more sustainable space environment, and create a new ecosystem of SpaceTech companies attracting inward investment and delivering high-value jobs across all regions of the country.”

IOSM Working Group member and report author, Portia Bowman, added: “Investing time, money and expertise into IOSM will provide far-reaching benefits to the UK which align directly with national priorities around sustainability, skills development, export opportunities, protecting and defending national interests in and through space, and growing the UK as a science and technology superpower.”

Download the IOSM Priorities Paper

[1] Northern Sky Research, In-Orbit Services: Satellite Servicing, ADR & SSA, 6th Edition, Feb 2023