Scotland set to become ‘world leading’ space nation

A minister is flying the flag for Scotland to become a world leading space nation.

Scottish government innovation minister Richard Lochhead will tell industry leaders in Los Angeles this week that Scotland’s space sector is in a “world leading position.”

It comes as SaxaVord Spaceport in Unst prepares to host the UK’s first vertical satellite launch next year.

Mr Lochhead will outline to delegates at the Space Economy Summit how Scotland is making an important contribution to exploration, innovation and economic growth of the sector.

Sponsored by The Economist, the event brings together industry experts, investors and governments from across the globe to learn more about the latest developments, discuss how to maximise the economic benefits of the sector and analyse how the latest technology could help tackle climate change.

Mr Lochhead will also undertake a series of engagements to promote trade and investment in Scotland.

He will visit ABL Space Systems, the company developing the rocket due to power the UK’s Pathfinder space launch from SaxaVord and have a meeting with Universal Hydrogen, a company using innovative solutions to decarbonise air travel.

Mr Lochhead said: “We are on the cusp of something new.

“Technology built in Scotland will be launched from Scottish soil and the data will be used by Scottish companies to problem solve for the benefit of humankind – this is full end-to-end space capability.

“As we push forward to deliver the first regular commercial launch in the UK, we are attracting significant inward investment that is augmenting our considerable existing manufacturing and research capabilities.  

“Scotland has always been a leader in innovation, and we continue to excel as we lead the world in small satellite manufacturing. In 2022, we also published the first ever Space Sustainability Roadmap, setting out how the sector can help achieve our climate targets.

“We are not alone in realising the opportunities offered by our space sector. Other nations are investing in Scotland, including the United States, with numerous companies choosing to invest in Scotland such as Spire Global and Mangata Networks.

“As we advance at a rate of knots towards our aim of becoming Europe’s leading space nation by 2030, I look forward to discussing opportunities within the sector and Scotland in particular.”

The Scottish government’s Space Strategy sets out an ambition for Scotland to become Europe’s leading space nation, capturing a £4 billion share of the global space market and 20,000 jobs in the sector by 2030.


Add Your Comment
  • Mr ian Tinkler

    • October 9th, 2023 10:51

    What a load of codswallop. “Scottish government innovation minister Richard Lochhead will tell industry leaders in Los Angeles this week that Scotland’s space sector is in a “world leading position.”!!! This idiot needs his bumps felt.

  • Alasdair MacEachen

    • October 9th, 2023 13:49

    As a resident of the Western Isles, I wonder if we would stand a better chance if we went for rocket travel instead of trying to build new ferries? Both air and sea travel here leave a lot to be desired and you wonder where the Scottish Government’s priorities lie when it comes to making best use of their funds.

  • Adrian Ellis

    • October 10th, 2023 14:43

    It’s just another smoke screen for public money to be wasted on hair brain schemes. Leave satellite delivery to the experts with a long experience who can spend investment wisely based on proven track records, not a bunch of hair brained individuals wanting to play with expensive toys. There are no provable real time benefits for the wider Scottish public for this folly to continue. Money would be better spent investing in critical infrastructure for Shetland to make everyone’s daily lives better, rather than just a few.


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