Isle of Man News - POSTED Fri 25-05-2012

ManSat Welcomes Validation of IOM Space Industry

by Martin Rigby

ManSat Welcomes Validation of IOM Space Industry

ManSat has welcomed a report from the UK Institute of Directors, which champions the Isle of Man’s space industry.

Published last Friday in London, the IoD report is the first in the Institute’s ‘Infrastructure for Business’ series and focuses on how fast the UK space sector is growing, explaining that the UK space cluster is being encouraged to liaise and cooperate with the Isle of Man to stimulate further growth.


The Island is highlighted as a model for the UK, with particular focus on ManSat’s role as a unique ‘space champion’ in orbital filing for the Island and for creating and managing the economic growth of this new market, while the report praises the Isle of Man Government’s current stance on space.


ManSat was the originator of the Island’s space industry following its formation in 1998 and continues to drive the sector forward. Working in partnership with the Isle of Man Government, its core function is carrying out satellite filing on behalf of the Isle of Man Communications Commission.


Chris Stott, ManSat CEO and Chairman, gave evidence earlier this month to the Standing Committee of Tynwald on Economic Policy Review, which is looking into the scope of the Island’s space industry and how it operates. 


The IoD report is the fourth independent report to comment on the rapid rise of the Isle of Man space industry and ManSat’s role in the creation and continued management of the growth in this sector, and reaffirms the similar findings reported recently; the first from the London School of Economics, the second from US Aerospace market research firm, Futron, and the third from the Guernsey Government investigating the potential for economic development in the Channel Island.


Mr Stott said: ‘The fact that the report was independent and from a preeminent organisation such as the IoD vindicates the work being undertaken by everyone involved with the Island’s space industry, not just ManSat.


‘There are some 36 companies in the Isle of Man who are involved with the space sector, and a further 22 local firms driving the industry forward, and when reports such as this herald the achievements of the Island, it’s another sign that the Isle of Man is doing something right and is held in high esteem, not just within the British Isles, but by the global space industry.’


‘Space: Britain’s new infrastructure frontier’ – which can be viewed here – outlines the achievements of Britain’s £8 billion space sector and makes the case for a UK spaceport to help further develop the industry in the years ahead. Space supports 85,000 jobs in the UK and has more than doubled in size over the last decade, with little direct involvement by the UK Government.


The report reveals how the end of NASA’s Space Shuttle programme has seen companies competing to provide ‘space taxi services’, while private sector innovation has lowered the cost of getting cargo into space. It says a UK spaceport would be crucial for the development of the space sector, acting as a hub for space tourism, research and development.


Focusing on the Isle of Man, the report says: ‘You can be small and succeed. You don’t need astronauts to be in the space business. The Isle of Man’s ManSat, which provides space services like access to geostationary orbits and associated radio frequencies, is a case in point.’


It explains how the Island has – ‘somewhat incredibly’ – carved out an impressive space sector of its own, with the Isle of Man Government anticipating the value of space-related turnover for the three years to 2013 will reach £1.6 billion.

While crediting the Island’s tax structure, political stability and legal system for playing their part, the report says the key to success has been in achieving a cluster effect of major space-related companies, such as Inmarsat and SES, along with organisations like the Space Data Association, which pools orbital data for the top fifteen satellite companies, which, in conjunction with the International Institute of Space Commerce, held a successful conference in the Isle of Man in early May.

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