Senior representatives from 11 EM3-based space companies have asked the UK Government to send out a clear message of confidence in the sector by placing contracts with UK space companies.
The space and satellite business leaders met with the Government’s Science Minister, Amanda Solloway MP, at a virtual roundtable convened by the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership.
The Minister emphasised the government’s commitment to the space industry with a new space strategy to be launched soon, and a vision to create the most innovative and attractive space economy in the world.
Executives from both large and small companies attended, representing the diverse strength of the EM3 upstream and downstream space sector.
The importance of government investment and procuring services from companies working in the UK was highlighted as a key issue, particularly in the fight against climate change.
Speaking about the Government’s levelling up agenda and recognising the area as a space ‘powerhouse’, Sir Martin Sweeting OBE said:
We must make sure levelling up doesn’t mean levelling down in the South East.
In response the Minister said:
This is not about levelling down anywhere at all. This is about recognising the brilliance that we have but it is also about giving opportunities to other areas throughout the country
Businesses also raised skills supply and inspiring youngsters to take up a career in space was also raised as a challenge for a sector, which is often perceived as highly specialised.
Steve Young from a satellite radar imaging company, ICEYE, added: "It’s often seen as the preserve of the rocket scientist, but it’s simply not like that anymore."
"Jobs [in the space industry] aren’t just for people with PhDs in astrophysics," said Doug Liddle from InSpace Missions.
Richard Brittan from Alcis, a company specialising in the use of space-born data, explained children in Latin America are taught how to use space-based data as part of the curriculum, something that doesn’t happen in the UK
If we could inspire kids to use space data… to underpin a range of different educational purposes we might get people coming out of school with a far better sense of how you can use data more effectively.
In response the Minister assured the group that she has regular meetings with education colleagues and highlighted how crucial it is to attract people to re-skill to join the space industry. She commented that the space sector was “important and inspiring” and “at the heart of efforts to tackle climate change”.
The future of the space sector forms an important part of Enterprise M3’s work. We recently formed the Surrey and Hampshire Space Hub, a consortium of EM3-based space companies working to capitalise on innovation and cross-sector growth. A team from EM3 also attended last week’s Space Comm Expo in Farnborough, furthering our reach into the sector.
Collaborate with us to connect with organisations, people and ideas