press release
Published: 18 July 2022

University of Surrey helps the UK space industry rocket as country’s largest regional space cluster launches in Surrey and Hampshire

The University of Surrey, Hampshire’s research institutes, business and industry have joined forces to create the country’s biggest space cluster, capitalising on existing regional strength in space technologies to boost the UK space industry through investment in space technology, research, satellite applications and mission capabilities.  

Image credit: RemoveDEBRIS

The Space South Central partnership, which launches today at the Farnborough International Air Show, brings together more than 120 academic institutions, private companies and public sector organisations in Surrey and Hampshire, helping to support and guide those established within the space industry and those looking to break into it.

Dr Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency, said:

“I’m proud to see some of the UK’s most prestigious space experts and businesses coming together to further strengthen this thriving sector. This network will not only provide new routes of access and support for established space organisations in the region, but it will help create more opportunities for groups and individuals inspired by STEM to find their way into a rewarding space career.

“Space South Central exemplifies the vision set out in the National Space Strategy of a sector working together across the country to showcase UK skills and capabilities, catalyse investment, and enhance our international reputation as a hub of expertise and innovation.”

Space South Central will directly contribute to delivering the UK’s space ambitions. The South East is currently responsible for 25% (£4.2 bn) of all UK space-related income1, with Surrey and Hampshire, the area covered by Space South Central, possibly accounting for as much as £3bn of reported national space-related turnover.2 Over 5,600 people work in the space sector in the two counties, with expertise across the whole spectrum of space activity.

By bringing together relevant knowledge, including the University of Surrey’s world-leading expertise in small satellite technologies, Space South Central will accelerate space business growth in the region, foster an environment of innovation, further grow the reputation of the south-central region and contribute to national prosperity.

Sam Adlen, Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) at the Satellite Applications Catapult, said:

“We’re delighted to support the launch of the Space South Central partnership and to help facilitate the continued growth of the space industry in the region. Surrey and Hampshire are already home to numerous innovative space organisations and institutions, and we look forward to playing our part in the further development of the region’s growing space community.”

Surrey and Hampshire already have a global reputation for space research and innovation excellence, with significant capabilities established in satellite manufacture, launch technologies, next-generation communications, robotics and autonomous systems, as well as a full range of satellite data-enabled service capabilities. Space South Central organisations already create £1.64bn of export revenue and £65m in foreign direct investment annually.

Prof Keith Ryden, Interim Director of Surrey Space Centre and Professor of Space Engineering, said:

“Our regional cluster will help academic institutions and industry – large and small – to develop collaborative projects and link together their expertise. There is already a strong, skilled workforce in the area contributing to the space industry and research supporting it, but the partnership will ensure those skills are maintained and increased to meet future needs and build on the area’s strengths.”

Read more about Space South Central and download the partnership’s new brochure at or visit stand 4803 beside the Space Zone at Farnborough International Airshow.


According to the latest UK Size and Health report

Data attained for reported space-based income/turnover, published in company accounts found on the UK HMG Companies House portal in the UKSCC. The turnover in the UKSCC is not fully representative of the whole sector.

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