Set up new premises for space

Space expertise is spread throughout the UK, with strong links to key research centres, production facilities and infrastructure.


The UK space ecosystem is made up of locally coordinated clusters. Regional space organisations across the UK can help you access development support, strategic advice and partnerships. Find out more on the websites listed below.

England

East of England

Space East brings together centres of space innovation such as Adastral Park, Norwich Research Park, Hethel Innovation, OrbisEnergy and the universities of East Anglia and Suffolk. Cluster strengths include artificial intelligence, 5G communications and microgravity R&D.

Find contacts and more information on the Space East website

Midlands

Midlands Space Cluster includes Space Park Leicester, which focuses on earth observation, communication, access to space and navigation and autonomy.

Find contacts and more information on the Midlands Space Cluster website

North West England

Space North West focuses on existing regional strengths, including nuclear power for space, cybersecurity for space, component and astrophysics. North West England is home to 13 universities and national facilities, including Jodrell Bank and the Henry Royce Institute.

Find contacts and more information on the Space North West website

North East England

Space North East is a community of over 50 businesses and academic institutions developing technologies for space or satellite applications. This includes the universities of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland, and Teesside.

Find contacts and more information on the Space North East website

South of England

The Oxford-Cambridge Arc brings industry together with Cambridge, Cranfield and Oxford universities. Areas of technical focus include earth observation, in-space services and access to space.

Find contacts and more information on the Oxford-Cambridge Arc website

Harwell in Oxfordshire is home to the National Satellite Test Facility, and the headquarters of the pioneering Satellite Applications Catapult. It hosts over 100 space companies.

Find contacts and more information on the Harwell Space Cluster website

The Westcott Space Cluster in Buckinghamshire is home to a growing nucleus of space-related companies developing new innovative technologies, including propulsion, in-orbit servicing, manufacturing, 5G communications and drone technologies and services.

Find contacts and more information on the Westcott Space Cluster website

Space South Central is a collaboration between industry and academia in one of the largest regional space clusters in the UK. Strengths include satellite manufacture, launch technologies, next-generation communications, robotics and autonomous systems.

Find contacts and more information on the Space South Central website

West of England

Cornwall Space Cluster hosts a dedicated horizontal launch site, satellite ground station, deep space communications, earth observation and flight testing. The cluster includes Goonhilly Earth Station and Spaceport Cornwall.

Find contacts and more information on the Cornwall Space Cluster website

Space West supports both multinational space companies and innovative small businesses in the region around Bristol, with space-specific expertise spanning upstream and downstream technologies.

Find contacts and more information on the Space West website

Yorkshire and the Humber

Space Hub Yorkshire supports the region’s strengths, including earth observation and advanced computer techniques, advanced manufacturing, and secure communications.

Find contacts and more information on the Space Hub Yorkshire website


UK nations

Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Space Office supports the Northern Irish space ecosystem including Airbus, Boeing, BAE Systems, Thales and Raytheon Group, as well as several academic institutions.

Find contacts and more information on the Northern Ireland Space Office website

Scotland

Scotland is the largest producer of small satellites in Europe and has several spaceports under development. There are centres of space activity across the region, coordinated by Space Scotland, including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Prestwick.

Find contacts and more information on the Space Scotland website

North Coast Space Cluster is home to the commercial spaceport, Space Hub Sutherland.

Find contacts and more information on the North Coast Space Cluster website

Wales

Space Wales coordinates the space ecosystem in Wales, which has an environment suited for spaceplane operations, advanced optical tracking and telemetry. It also has 7100 square kilometres of segregated airspace with no ceiling.

Find contacts and more information on the Space Wales website.

More information on UK space clusters and expertise

View a detailed map of space sector segmentation and location using the UK Space Sector Ecosystem Cluster Directory.

Explore the UK’s space sector capabilities in detail on the Space Industries Investor Launchpad website


Incubators and accelerators 

Incubators

Incubators are business growth programmes that provide physical space for startups, with shared facilities and business support services. They’re often based in science parks.

There are around 400 incubator programmes currently operating in the UK. Most incubators will charge your company fees or rent, but this is often subsidised by a university or public funding.

Accelerators

Accelerators will typically offer your company services through an intensive programme, of 3 to 12 months. There are currently around 300 programmes operating in the UK.

Accelerators tend to be more growth-driven than incubators, as they often offer direct funding in return for equity (typically less than 10%). They’re more appropriate if you’re a startup looking to scale rapidly.

View a directory of accelerators and incubators on the website of the Centre for Entrepreneurs (requires free registration).

Incubators and accelerators related to the space industry include:

European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre UK

Provides start ups with technical expertise and facilities, business support, networking, office space and funding.

UK Space Agency Accelerator

Provides several programmes with opportunities designed for businesses at various levels of their space journey.


Freeports

Freeports are special areas within the UK’s borders where different economic regulations apply and where you can access planning, infrastructure and innovation support from the UK government.

You can also access a wide range of customs and tax benefits by expanding your business within a UK Freeport.

Sites that may be particularly relevant to companies in the space industry are:

However, other freeports may have a location or other offerings that are suited to your business. See a full list of Freeports


Find office space

The UK has a competitive market of specialised serviced office companies, professional services companies and virtual office providers, all ensuring costs are kept low for clients.

Virtual offices allow companies to meet any legal obligation to have a registered address in the UK, without paying for a physical office.

You can compare prices for office or other space on commercial property search engines, such as Estates Gazette,  and the websites of office advisory services like Instant Offices or Flexi Offices.

Support from local business programmes

The nations and regions of the UK have a network of private-public partnership bodies that look after local economic development. These bodies may be able to support you with finding office space.

England

Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hubs support businesses across England. Find links on the Growth Hub network listing

UK nations

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland manage their programmes for business support, funding and finance in their areas.

More information on the programmes’ websites:


Regulations

The UK’s Space Industry Act (2018) is designed to cater for a range of current and future spaceflight and satellite technology, with flexibility to support the pace of innovation safely, and it covers:

  • licencing for UK space activities
  • public safety
  • safety, training and informed consent requirements for spaceflight activities
  • establishment and regulation of UK launch sites
  • liability, indemnities and insurance for UK space activities

Find out about UK spaceflight legislation and guidance on GOV.UK

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the UK’s independent space regulator. The CAA can advise you on licencing for activities and related timelines.

You can find more information on the CAA website



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