With a U.K. commitment to increase its European Space Agency contribution 25%, the space industry is becoming a major economic driver in Britain. The nation's £1.2 billion ($1.8 billion) pledge to ESA programs is part of a larger €10-billion ($13 billion) spending package the agency approved last November, making the U.K. the agency's third-largest funder—after France and Germany—and positioning Astrium U.K. to reap the benefits. The U.K. Space Agency estimates the nation's space ...

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