Space sector heads to US on major growth mission

Nine UK space companies are in the US on a trade mission to boost investment of proprietary equipment. It will feature some of the most exciting British companies in the space industry, from small start-ups to established market leaders, with the overall aim of growing the UK presence in the global space sector from 6.5% to 10% by 2030.

While the US is best known for its space launch systems, the UK has strong reputation for developing sensors and systems that are extremely capable as well as lower cost compared to revivals.

Tim Just, head of space at Innovate UK said: "All of these burgeoning firms are at the forefront of the new space race and have genuinely built innovative solutions to some of the sector's greatest challenges."

All of the companies on the mission have developed unique business models and approaches, which dramatically lower the cost of space technology, research and analysis. In addition, the US private space sector has rapidly expanded over the last twenty years and affords an excellent opportunity for UK companies to build connections with industry leaders there.

The 2010 strategy sets a target to grow the UK's share of the world's space economy from 6.5% to 10% by 2030. By today's estimates this would lead to a UK sector with £40 billion per annum of space-enabled turnover and the creation of 100,000 new jobs.

Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science, said: "The Space sector is one of Britain's great success stories.This mission will help the brightest and best of British firms showcase their innovate products and expand into new markets."

It is packed agenda for those attending, which will attend meetings with some of the biggest names in the sector including Nasa, Lockheed Martin and Virgin Galactic.

The nine companies are:
•Arralis Technologies, a firm that supplies world leading, ultra-fast, radar technology (Belfast)
•Bird.i, a startup that is socialising earth observation and satellite data (London)
•Bright Ascension, a provider of software solutions for satellites, that save time and money (Dundee)
•Gyana, a startup that uses advanced mathematics and machine learning to harness big data for use in everyday life (Oxford)
•Mars Space Ltd, a company that provides services and consultancy on space propulsion, plasma engineering and science (Southampton)
•Oxford Space Systems, a company which is set on becoming the leading supplier of deployable space structures globally (Harwell Oxford)
•Printech Circuit Laboratories, a company that for over 20 years has manufactured a range of circuitry for the space industry (Essex)
•PocketQube Shop, a one-stop-shop for custom satellites that cost less than a family car (Glasgow)
•Scot Sat, a provider of ultra-high speed mobile satellite communications at a fraction of the cost (Edinburgh)

The visit was set up by Innovate UK - the Government's innovation agency - and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). The nine companies each applied and went through a competitive application process for the funding to attend the Mission.

Justin Cunningham

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