Minister Iain Stewart Visits Companies in Scotland’s Space Sector

2nd Apr 2021
MP Iain Stewart

On 18th March, Scottish Minister Iain Stewart visited leading satellite manufacturers and defence companies to highlight new growth possibilities for Scotland’s space sector. The latter is developing quite rapidly and already produces more satellites than any other region in Europe. By 2030, it could generate £4 billion in revenue. 

Stewart on Scotland’s Space Sector Opportunities

The tour of space and defence facilities recently came as the continuation of the Integrated Review of Defence, Security and Foreign Policy published last month. The review highlights the value of developing both defence systems and foreign policies. One of the facilities visited by Iain Stewart is AAC Clyde Space in Glasgow. 

Given the impressive amount of revenue Scotland’s space sector may generate, investing in the aerospace industry is vital to speed up its development process and open new growth opportunities. 

Minister Stewart emphasised the fact that Scotland already develops cutting-edge technologies. To date, Scotland has 133 aerospace organisations, which generate £254 million in revenue. Besides, 20% of the British working in the space niche work in Scotland. Stewart adds that the government is going to increase its defence funding, which, in turn, will create new space job opportunities in Scotland. 

The government has already given a £31.5 million support grant to construct vertical spaceports in the Highlands and Islands. The first launches are planned for the beginning of next year. 

One more company visited by Minister Stewart is defence manufacturer, Thales Optronics. The organisation recently secured a ten-year contract worth £180 million. This project alone will create 700 new jobs and 30 apprenticeships. The end goal is to create an armoured vehicle, Remote Weapons Stations.

As part of this tour, the minister met with Samir Khan-Young, who won the Apprentice of the Year award just recently. After the meeting, the minister mentioned he was pleased to see how the company is training new space apprentices.

The tour ended at Glasgow’s Scottish Events Campus. SEC representatives will attend the Climate Change Conference later this year. The minister met with SEC CEO Peter Duthie, and their discussion revolved around supporting the economy during the COVID-19 crisis. The final stop on SEC grounds was a vaccination centre at the Louisa Jordan hospital. 

While not all the stops on Minister Stewart’s latest tour were satellite and defence companies, it is still clear that the government is willing to develop Scotland’s space sector and are making an active effort to encourage these aerospace companies.  

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