Scotland Outlines Their Space Sustainability Plans

13th Sep 2022
Scotland Outlines Their Space Sustainability Plans

On Tuesday, 6th September, Scotland’s space sector published “Space Sustainability: A Roadmap for Scotland.” This is Scotland’s vision for making the industry more eco-friendly. 

The publication sets out the steps Scotland’s space industry will take to reduce its environmental impact. Examples include developing reusable rockets and using alternatives to toxic fuels. 

The report indicated that manufacturers in Scotland are already developing ‘green propellants’ to power small rockets to space. 

The origins of the Space Sustainability: A Roadmap for Scotland report

The strategy was put together by Glasgow-based Optimat, space strategy firm AstroAgency, and Space Scotland’s Environmental Task Force. Project funding was provided by the Scottish Enterprise.

This report includes a number of short, medium, and long-term work packages to chart a path to a more sustainable space sector in Scotland. 

In total, the report includes 11 detailed work pages. These cover areas such as Net Zero, environment, in-orbit, and leadership. Goals are established for the space industry to achieve by 2045. These goals concentrate on lowering emissions, as well as increasing sustainability in orbit and on the ground. 

A commitment to reducing space debris

Space debris has been a hot topic as of late. Panelists discussed the matter in-depth at the recent Space-Comm 2022 Expo. 

In this roadmap, Scotland declares its commitment to lowering space debris. This relates to fragments of broken old rockets and satellites that are littering the Earth’s orbit.

Space Sustainability: A Roadmap for Scotland reveals the work of the University of Strathclyde. Experts there have been working on microsatellites with sensors so that they can detect and analyse how they fragment throughout atmospheric re-entry. 

Skyrora and Orbex are playing a critical role

Scotland is already the site of attempts to make rocket launches more ecologically friendly. Both Orbex and Skyrora are utilising non-recyclable plastics to generate fuel and they are repurposing biodiesel production waste. Skyrora’s award winning Ecosene rocket fuel is just one such example of how the industry is reshaping itself with a more ecologically friendly focus.

Orbex, based in Forres, is currently working on launching a satellite from Sutherland. Skyrora, which is based in Edinburg, is working toward launches from the Shetland spaceport.

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