European satellites giant Eutelsat Communications has signed a deal worth in excess of €200m (£177.9m) to build two new satellites in the UK, business secretary Greg Clark announced today.
The deal between Eutelsat and Airbus Defence and Space will see components and major parts for two new communications satellites assembled in the UK before final assembly is completed in France.
Airbus sites in Stevenage and Portsmouth will manufacture key components of the two new satellites, benefiting up to 500 UK workers.
Eutelsat is replacing its three existing satellites and is set to launch two new ones in 2021.
Today’s deal means six out of seven of the company’s new satellites will be partially built in the UK, representing inward investment of up to €40m (£35.5m) per year.
Clark said: “This investment is a significant vote of confidence for the UK’s world-leading space industry.
“The UK is already a world-leader in developing satellite technology, with a 40 per cent share of the global export market of small satellites and building major parts for one in four of the world’s commercial telecommunications satellites.
“This new deal builds on the recent announcement, as part of our industrial strategy, that the UK is investing in, and building, its first proposed spaceport in Sutherland. The spaceport will further develop our expertise and capabilities in the space sector enabling us to launch small satellites.”
Eutelsat chief executive Rodolphe Belmer said: “We are impressed with the ongoing expansion of the UK space sector, particularly its growing industrial capabilities and development of cutting-edge technology, and we will continue to rely on the UK’s ability to build and deliver world-leading spacecraft."