The ambition is for the UK to hold a greater share of the commercial spaceflight market, worth an estimated £25bn over the next 20 years, calling for businesses to develop competitive, commercial and safe spaceflight proposals for UK-based satellite launch services and sub-orbital flights.
Organisations expected to bid for a share of the funding are likely to be joint enterprises of launch vehicle operators and potential launch sites. The funding must be used to develop spaceflight capabilities, such as building spaceport infrastructure or adapting launch vehicle technology for use in the UK. The aim is to establish a commercial spaceflight market to capture a share of the emerging global market from 2020.
“Spaceflight offers the UK the opportunity to build on our strengths in science, research and innovation,” said Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson. “It provides opportunities to expand into new markets, creating highly-skilled jobs and boosting local economies across the country. That is why it is one of the key pillars of our Industrial Strategy.”
The government has also announced that it is preparing legislation to develop a safe and competitive regulatory environment for spaceflight. This work goes hand-in-hand with government’s work internationally to achieve the technical, trade and policy agreements necessary for UK-based launch services and developing interest from launch customers and operators from around the world.