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UK Space Agency

CLIENT STORY

Designing the UK’s regulator for space flight

The global space race is on, and satellite companies, television broadcasters, broadband providers, rocket start-ups and a host of other participants are all seeking to grow their share of this important market. Chief among them is the UK government, which aims to enhance its strategic player status by enabling the market to launch from the UK. We helped the UK Space Agency (UKSA) design critical structures to safely achieve the UK’s spaceflight ambitions.

Key successes

  • Created a target operating model to define how a new regulator would work

  • Developed a business case and implementation plan to establish the new regulator

  • Established a strategy to engage with key stakeholders

Envisioning the future of the UK space industry 

The passing of the Spaceflight Industry Act in 2018 has paved the way for civil spaceflight launches from the UK, which has the potential to galvanise the market and drive significant economic growth. The UKSA needed to develop secondary legislation and create a regulator to ensure that market participants protect public safety and security, safeguard the environment and meet UN Treaty obligations. The UK government had to move fast to ensure it was ready to enable operators to obtain licences for launch, spaceport, range and in-orbit activities, once launch dates were in place.

“Our work to create a new regulator was both critically important and time-constrained,” says Colin Macleod, Director of Regulation, UKSA. “We selected PA’s help because of their expertise in regulatory, business and technology design and felt they could best help us build consensus with all our stakeholders.”

 

Creating a future-proof regulatory model

The UKSA’s mandate was a large undertaking needing interaction with the space industry and design collaboration with other agencies, including the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Department for Transport (DfT), UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

We engaged key stakeholders to rapidly understand progress and establish project goals to equip the team for success. Our diverse team of experts:

  • set the regulatory strategy to ensure the regulator was focussed on safety whilst being highly adaptive to the pace of technological change in the market
  • developed a target operating model to define the business capabilities, processes, technology, data, people and governance needed to ensure that the new regulator would be efficient and effective
  • created a business case that shaped the direction of the target operating model and helped stakeholders review different options and technology investments
  • planned implementation, with transition states that delivered benefits in waves, reducing delivery risk
  • established a stakeholder engagement strategy, strengthening the UKSA’s relationship with industry participants.

With our help, the UK is set to enhance its strategic status in the global spaceflight market. The new regulatory model aims to protect the public, safeguard the environment and maintain the UK’s reputation for safety. This is underpinned by a regulatory regime designed to encourage innovation and UK investment without compromising regulatory standards. 

PA helped us create a vision for UK spaceflight and take our stakeholders on that journey (...) As a result of this work, we have made proposals for how UK spaceflight regulatory powers will be executed and we now have the tools to move forward with this plan.

Tobias Lin,
Design and Operations Lead at UKSA

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