UK Space Conference 2021 heralds official new space strategy for nation even if its hopes are reduced

by | Sep 29, 2021 | Military space, Science, Space politics

The United Kingdom’s space conference held every two years was a more muted affair this year – pun intended – as it has been forced online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless there were some significant announcements to be had. While the official target to achieve a 10 per cent share of the world’s space business by 2030 has been quietly dropped, a new national space strategy has been announced aiming to increase the UK share in growing the world space market. The UK currently has about 6 per cent worth circa US$21 billion.

George Freeman, the newly appointed Minister of Space via his Science portfolio, noted that strategy was to be “part of a global race for the new space economy, and (that) the U.K. has some very strong strengths that we want to play to.”

The periscope of Royal Navy submarine HMS Talent pokes above the cold waters of Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland during surfacing drills in the in December 2009. Courtesy: UK MoD/Crown Copyright


While some have been amused by the hyperbolic language in the 42-page strategy document including a promise of a “Galactic Britain”, a very Boris Johnson-like phrase which led some to wonder if it was going to get its own Star Wars-like “Death Star”, in fact there was some real money behind the strategy. This includes the Sterling equivalent of US$6.8 billion upgrading the UK’s military satellite capability which it needs to maintain communications with its Royal Navy submarine and surface fleet, as well as its air and ground forces, and US$1.9 billion to be invested in new rocket technologies. As it is, UK also plans to have orbit capable rocket systems launching from its shores by 2022 using rockets from companies such as Virgin Galactic, Orbex and Skyrora.

A little murkier in terms of clarity is quite how the UK will work on future European space programmes. While the UK is out of the EU after Brexit, it remains in the European Space Agency (ESA). Nevertheless, the UK still hopes to collaborate with the EU on its Copernicus Earth environment programme in which it has valuable expertise.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned Seradata database. Trusted by over 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, Seradata is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles




nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochinaFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 525virgin galacticULAfalcon 9RoscosmosevaDGAspacewalkaviation weekaressoyuzIGTInternational Space StationBeidouawardsRocket LabBlue OriginspaceStarlinkSatellite broadcastingrussiamoonAirbus DSISROCargo Return VehicleboeingmarsblogresearchOneWebspaceshiptwojaxaorionmarsimpactdelayhyperbolaEutelsatdemocratrocketlunarhypertextobamagoogle lunar prizelaunchVegabarack obamaconstellationSEStourismnorthfiguresthales alenia spacespaceflightnode 2fundedRaymond LygoIntelsat2009Lockheed MartinExpress MD-2Elon MuskAtlas Vromess2dassault aviationaviationLucy2008wk2sstlukradiomissilesuborbitaldocking portexplorationAriane 5 ECAVirgin OrbittestinternetLong March 2D/2sts-122Ariane 5Northrop GrummanSLSChina Manned Space EngineeringElectronflightspace tourism2010cotsnewspapermissile defensegalileospaceportExpress AMU 1Long March 4Cbuildspace stationaltairsoyuz 2-1aProton Minternational astronautical congressshuttleEuropean Space AgencyLauncherOneCosmosIntelsat 23scaled compositeshanleybudgetspace shuttlerulesnew yorkAriane 6shenzhouatvVietnamcongressMojaveboldenLong March 2COrbital ATKInmarsatcnesnew shepardiaclunar landerGuiana Space CenterkscApollolawsSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencyLong March 4BKuaizhou 1AILSprotonUS Air ForceTalulah RileydarpaElectron KSFalcon 9v1.2 Block 5Vega CeuAstriumSkylonpicturebaseusaastronautdragonlanderfiveeventTelesatNorth KoreaSSLAprilSNC50thinterviewLong MarchSea LaunchfalconWednesdaycustomerlinkatlantissuccessor