The UK Space Agency recently released its biennial report on The Size and Health of the UK Space Industry (PDF), revealing strong continued growth in the sector.
Many people do not realise it, but the UK’s space industry currently employs 34,000 people, supports a further 65,000 jobs in other sectors such as manufacturing and engineering, and is currently worth £11.3billion to the UK’s economy. This represents a growth of over 7% per year, well above that of the wider economy.
In fact, although the public perception of the space industry often begins and ends with NASA, UK companies are heavily involved in the exploration of our universe. The UK is one of the ten founder members of the European Space Agency, working in conjunction with other European states to complete missions into space to extend our knowledge and understanding.
One such current mission, Rosetta, has been exploring a comet known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. After reaching it in August, it became the first spacecraft to orbit a comet last month, and next month its lander module Philae is expected to attempt the first ever soft touchdown on a comet. This project has had significant involvement from UK engineering companies since its launch in 2004, and UK scientists are involved in 10 of the 21 experiments on board.
The space industry generates a demand for a wide variety of skills, and the fact that the UK’s sector is growing is testament to the skills and abilities of our scientific, engineering and manufacturing sectors. Alongside the specialists behind each payload, there is a strong demand for mechanical, electronics and electrical engineers who can think creatively to overcome the challenges of designing for space, as well as the scientists who calculate, observe and analyse the results of each mission.
Outside the industry itself, various manufacturers and suppliers can support space exploration with components and tools. A single space craft can have millions of different components, each of which needs to be precision-made and built to last. In the case of the Rosetta mission, the components needed to be able to last at least ten years in space while the probe journeyed towards its rendezvous with 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and other missions require similar or even higher durability. This means that manufacturers of all kinds – even spring suppliers such as ourselves – may be called upon to support the space industry in the UK as it continues to grow.
Here at Airedale Springs, we pride ourselves on rigorous quality control, excellent standards and uncompromising service, so whether you’re going into space or remaining firmly on Earth our products will meet your needs. For more information, contact us on 01535 643456.