Why the Scottish Space Strategy vs UK Space Strategy Race is Pivotal8th Dec 2021
Scotland and the UK officialised their space strategies making their vision and ambitions known when it comes to space exploration. Both the Scottish Space Strategy and its UK counterpart emphasise the importance of space exploration and technology in missions like developing outer-space infrastructure, removing debris, or delivering services.
The Road to a Galactic Britain
The UK plans to become Europe’s biggest player in space technology and travel. And with a soon-to-be functional launch site, the plan isn’t far from being realistic. The main objectives of the UK’s space strategy are to promote a space economy, protect national interests through space and in it, and boost scientific discovery and innovation. To all these, you can add the developing spaceports in Argyll, Prestwick, Sutherland, and Shetland Isles, among others.
However, besides building spaceports, the UK government should also focus on promoting startups in the space sector. The likes of Skyrora, Alba Orbital, or OneWeb already contributed to the country’s vision, and a solid program should exist.
The Scottish Space Strategy Strikes Back
While the UK’s space strategy only formulated vague goals, the Scottish program already has clear goals to reach by 2030. These include:
- Adding £4 billion each year to the country’s economy from the space industry
- A 5x increase in the workforce for the space sector, an estimate of 20,000 employees in total
- Scotland aims to become one of Europe’s spearheads in space development for commercial uses
- The launch sites within Scotland to provide services to customers in Europe and the rest of the world
The Scottish Space Strategy relies on some promising statistics since Scotland employs twice as many people in the space industry compared to the rest of the UK. The country is responsible for one-fifth of the total space jobs in the UK. Furthermore, the space sector already generates £880 million a year in Scotland, so £4 billion isn’t such an unreachable target.
Finally, the Scottish Space Strategy shouldn’t be seen as a rival to the one proposed by the UK. Especially since Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and the goals for the two programs are similar. Actually, even the problems of the two space programs are the same – funding and bureaucracy. However, after taking everything into consideration, it does look like Scotland has a more precise plan to work with.