US and UK satellite giants Viasat and Inmarsat have inked a deal with government to create new space jobs in the UK.
The UK has thrown its arms around its blossoming space sector over the past 12 months, as it readies for the first-ever launches from home soil by the end of this year.
Viasat and Inmarsat, which are planning a $7.3bn merger, have entered a legally binding agreement with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, The Times first reported, which will see jobs forged within satellite innovation, ground stations and research and development (R&D).
The merger is still being monitored under the National Security and Investment Act, as Inmarsat offers communications services to the Ministry of Defence.
The satellite companies are reportedly set to hike their R&D spending by a third, as well as help create a centre of excellence for R&D, in a location which is not yet known.
The agreement also covers maintenance for the UK’s growing satellite network and strengthening cybersecurity capabilities, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine catapulting the concern to the top of the agenda for space-tech firms and state-agencies.
Inmarsat chief executive Rajeev Suri told the newspaper the agreement and combination of the two companies “will result in more highly-skilled jobs and R&D investment in the UK than Inmarsat could achieve on a standalone basis”.