Pointing to Andromeda at Mull of Galloway © Visit South West Scotland / Ben Bush
Article published 06/10/2023
Driven by a booming small satellite industry, a growing roster of launch sites, and cutting-edge data analysis, Scotland has its sights set high with an ambitious national space strategy which aims to establish the country as a leading European space nation by 2030.
Scotland is already fast becoming the data capital of Europe and these strengths have coalesced into a national space strategy, which is focused on end-to-end capabilities in satellite manufacturing, launch, and data utilisation. The goal? A £4 billion share of the global space market and 20,000 high-skill jobs by the end of the decade.
Business events play a pivotal role in providing a platform for professionals and experts to share insights, explore emerging technologies, and forge partnerships that drive economic growth and sustainable development. With the rise in aerospace technology in Scotland, business events prove essential in the fostering of collaboration, innovation and knowledge to enhance the country's global standing and propel the industry forward.
Scotland's much-loved landscapes and topography make it an attractive location for spaceports as they provide the opportunity to offer vertically launched rockets. In fact, five of the seven proposed UK spaceport sites are located in Scotland.
In the North of Scotland, The North Coast Space Cluster aims to use the vertical launch site at Sutherland Spaceport as a starting point for a leading space cluster. The Spaceport, which is currently under construction, will be the world's first carbon-neutral site and is expected to create approximately 61 jobs for the local area.
In addition, Orbex, Europe's leading orbital launch services company, has opened a facility in Forres to develop its Prime launch vehicle, which will launch from the new Spaceport when it opens.
Scottish innovation stands as a testament to the nation's rich legacy of intellectual prowess and creativity and the country is making leaps and bounds in the space sector.
The University of Edinburgh, which has its own Space and Satellites Centre at its collaborative hub The Bayes Centre, is a key partner for the Space Research and Innovation Network for Technology (SPRINT Network). SPRINT is a UK wide network which engages with small to medium sized businesses working within the sector to allow them to grow and strengthen the UK space economy.
SPRINT has been incredibly successful and to date has achieved:
- Enabled £6.2m research and development
- 38 Space Data projects
- 33 Space Tech projects
- 9 Space Transfer projects
- £77.5k average project value
The space industry is energy-intensive, requiring substantial resources for manufacturing and launch. Scottish companies, such as Skyrora, are working towards sustainable solutions including repurposing waste to create green rocket fuel, and commitments to reduce space debris in Earth's orbit.
Scottish space technology is also used for environmental conservation, such as tracking elephant migration and monitoring biodiversity loss. Edinburgh-based startup Earth Blox is harnessing satellite imagery to monitor deforestation, boost agriculture, and speed up disaster response times.
For further information on Scotland's space sector visit: https://www.gov.scot/policies/manufacturing/space-sector