The UK space industry has an opportunity to become a global leader and achieve its goal of securing 10% of the world's space economy by 2030. In this article, UKspace Chair, Graham Peters, looks at how the UK space industry can leverage its strengths to capitalise on our growing dependence on space and satellite infrastructure brought about by the current period of digital transformation.
Technologies such as AI, quantum computing and 5G networks will lead to new applications and processes (such as precision agriculture, autonomous vehicles and parcel deliveries by drones) which will depend on services provided by satellite infrastructure, rapidly growing the UK space sector which already supports £300bn of activity in other sectors across the UK economy.
The UK Space Agency has a relatively small budget in comparison to some international competitors, so in order to maximise return on investment and be competitive in the global market, the relevant stakeholders will need to collaborate closely. Partnerships between government bodies and industry (following the example of partnerships between NASA and Space X and Blue Origin) will be key to this and Graham believes that a National Space Framework can be created to align UK space's strategic goals and lead to a coherent and aligned national space programme.
Few sectors in modern economies are untouched by digital services, and a significant portion of these are enabled by space, impacting our daily lives. Every time we go to work, watch TV, or ask our smartphone for directions, we depend on space.