New industry

Lochhead says Scotland can lead the space race

Orbex rocket
Scotland is building launch stations

Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead will tell a gathering of potential investors in Edinburgh today that Scotland can be a European leader in space industry.

Mr Lochhead will set out Scotland’s ambitions, which include capturing a £4 billion share of the global space market, to the UK Space Agency’s Space Investment Forum.

He will say that businesses could employ 20,000 within a decade in sectors from manufacturing small satellites to supporting rocket launches.

SaxaVord Spaceport in Shetland is in line to host the UK’s first vertical launch later this year. Customers for small satellite launches have signed up from the US and Europe.

Mr Lochhead says: “We have big ambitions to be Europe’s leading space nation. The sector could be worth £4 billion and employ 20,000 people.

Richard Lochhead
Richard Lochhead: we are on the cusp of something new (pic: Terry Murden)

“That’s why space is one of the key industries the Scottish Government has pinpointed as an economic priority.

“Recent developments mean we are, quite genuinely, on the cusp of something new and exhilarating. We are ideally located for launching satellites into orbit and projects at SaxaVord and Sutherland are progressing well.”

Glasgow hosts a thriving satellite manufacturing hub. The city makes more satellites than anywhere outside California, while Skyrora has a rocket-making factory in Cumbernauld. These, and other developments are creating a growing space supply chain.

“Scotland has set some of the most ambitious targets for cutting emissions anywhere. The space industry can propel our green and growing economy to new heights,” says Mr Lochhead.

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