Space Industrial Plan – what can businesses expect?

The Foot Anstey Space & Satellite Team was on hand to hear Andrew Griffith MP, Minister for Science, Research, and Innovation, announce the new Space Industrial Plan at Space-Comm Expo 2024.

The Minister unveiled a plan to develop the relationship between government and industry into a strategic partnership, prioritising and focussing activity and resources to deliver key elements of the National Space Strategy. He referenced reforming procurement to make the government a better customer for space businesses and supporting market access to enable increased exports.

In addition to sovereign UK space missions, the Minister wants to encourage stronger partnerships around the world. The Space Industrial Plan also touches on areas the space law team at Foot Anstey have advised on recently, including building the space sector workforce and investment into space businesses.

Introduction to the Space Industrial Plan

The Space Industrial Plan (SIP) is a joint civil-defence plan that sets out to modernise the relationship between the government and the commercial space sector, establishing clear visions, missions, and actions to unlock growth and develop resilient space capabilities.

The SIP sets out five specific capability goals where the UK seeks leadership across:

  1. Space Domain Awareness (SDA)
  2. In-Orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing (IOSAM)
  3. Space data for Earth applications
  4. Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT)
  5. Satellite communication technology

National Space Capabilities

The government has committed to completing a National Space Capability Development Plan by autumn 2024 which will include a set of roadmaps for the delivery of all 22 national space capability goals. Below are the five specific capability goals that will be delivered.

The UK seeks to establish a high-capacity and innovation-friendly regulatory function to support space sustainability goals and offer more accurate services to spacecraft operators. This is to include improved UK sensors on Earth and in space, with digital infrastructure to process and disseminate data.

This includes debris removal and refuelling satellites, sustainability areas that have received a great deal of attention recently due to the increasingly congested nature of space and intensified interest in the longevity of space assets. Delivery of an in-orbit testing facility and a regulatory sandbox are planned to develop the UK’s core competencies for high-frequency, close-proximity operations.

We expect further information to become available at the first IOSM Conference taking place in Harwell at the start of May and will report back.

This would involve the delivery of a new digital infrastructure to provide trusted insights from space derived data to users: a national space data architecture. The intention being in part to better leverage public data sets to increase the exploitation of high-value satellite data across the economy.

The aim is to strengthen existing capabilities through the development of a new national space-based PNT augmentation system and a new Ministry of Defence ‘MOD time’ system of last resort to strengthen national resilience.

The UK seeks to secure leadership in commercial Satellite Communications for the next 10-15 years. A strategy will be developed to grow, retain and attract satellite communication companies in the UK.

In addition, the UK will explore ways to deepen relationships with international partners, support the Launch Programme that has led to spaceport development and attracted launch operators, and promote a vibrant UK industrial base.

Relationship with Industry

As referenced in the Minister's speech, the government seeks a strategic partnership with industry, with increased diversity and competitiveness, and a scale-up support ecosystem. To support these goals there will be a new government strategic engagement model, scoping pilots for new business development tools and approaches, and the embedding of the supplier code of conduct taking place in 2024.

A Defence Space "front door" process will be designed for better communication between Defence and industry.

Regulation and Sustainability

The government will publish a Space Regulatory Review in 2024 to identify barriers including those in licensing and procurement practices. Other actions include the launch of the first industry-led sustainability standards for space and variable liability insurance and financial incentives for responsible space operators.

Investment and Access to Finance

Foot Anstey has written about the investment market in space here, with advice for space businesses here. The government aims to build on the UK's existing lead role for space investment in Europe, with the UK and the City of London becoming the pre-eminent global centre for space financial products and services.

Key actions in 2024 will include the implementation of a new Private Investment Framework for Space, a new Unlocking Space for Investment programme, and plans for a global space finance conference in London in autumn.

Increasing Adoption of UK Space Services

The government believes that space data and services remain a misunderstood offering with potential markets untapped. A series of research initiatives and actions to drive demand for Earth Observation data across the public sector is planned.

Building a Skilled Space Workforce

Challenges in recruitment and retention are well known in the space sector and Foot Anstey have written about the challenges of retention and recruitment. The government recognises these challenges and will publish a Space Workforce Action Plan in 2024 and complete Phase 1 of the physical build of the new Space Academy in 2025.

Stimulating International Trade

Exports account for 34% of the space sector's total income. Actions to support and increase this include upskilling UK companies on export license requirements and delivering priority coordinated export campaigns.

Developing the UK's Space Ecosystem

The active and successful space cluster network will be supported through the publication of a Promotional Guide to Space Clusters and giving clusters a clear voice in regional policy development.


With several new activities, publications, and frameworks planned for 2024 the coming year looks to be a busy one as the government seeks a closer strategic relationship with industry. Whether you are recruiting staff, seeking investment, or ascertaining how new regulations relate to your space business our team of space lawyers can help.

Our business accelerator programme, Enterprise, is focused on supporting start-ups, SMEs and fast-growing enterprises, in efforts to help protect and grow your business. Find out more about our innovative programme of support and the application process here.

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