Scotland punching above its weight in Space industry ambitions

10th May 2020
Scotland in Space

Scotland is the lead country within the United Kingdom when it comes to space sector development. Hundreds of space organizations and private companies operate here, and shortly, Scotland will enter the launch services market.

The prospect of Scotland’s space sector as the primary destination for spaceport construction have grown significantly since the launch of the UK Space Agency in 2010 and its decision to develop the local space industry. 

Today, Scotland’s space ecosystem includes more than 130 private companies, dozens of research institutes and observatories.

Who’s ahead?

Orbex and Skyrora are the most prominent players since they design light launch vehicles powered by economical, low-toxic fuel. The latter is in line with the environmental ambitions of the country. Aside from these giants, several other companies develop space tech, offering satellite monitoring services, and provide management solutions. Namely:

· Spyre;

· Ecometrica;

· Clyde Space;

· Astrosat;

· Alba Orbital;

· STAR Dundee;

· Bird.i.

During their time in business, these companies have managed to attract hundreds of millions of pounds of investments, significantly increasing the reputation of Scotland and the UK in the international space industry. 

The more, the better 

Today, Glasgow develops more satellites than the rest of Europe, and this sector’s capitalization is growing by the hour. American and Russian space companies want to collaborate with Scotland, while thousands of British graduates dream of working in the space sphere. The number of graduates in engineering, technology, science, and mathematical faculties is growing every year. 

Still, the construction of Scotland spaceports should become the biggest economic breakthrough in this country’s history. At least three launch sites in Shetland, Prestwick, and Sutherland, are currently under discussion. Spaceports will deal with vertical and horizontal launches of light carriers to deliver small satellites and CubeSats to low-polar and solar-synchronous orbits. Later on, expanded spaceport operations could even include suborbital passenger transportation. The combination of these factors should create hundreds of new jobs and, by 2030, increase the value of Scotland’s space industry to 4 billion pounds.

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