Supporting Scotland’s space ambitions
International experts form new committee.
Scotland’s ambition to become Europe’s leading space nation by 2030 is being given a boost under the guidance of a group of global experts from the space industry.
The Scotland International Space Advisory Committee (SISAC) consists of members of the Scottish Government’s GlobalScot programme – a network of Scots in business around the world – who have come together voluntarily to provide advice and identify opportunities to achieve a £4 billion share of the global space market and 20,000 jobs in the sector over the next seven years.
Scotland is making huge advances in the space sector, with the first orbital launch from Scottish soil due in 2023. Both SaxaVord Spaceport in Shetland and Space Hub Sutherland – working alongside Scottish-based launch manufacturers – are months away from lift off. Space Hub Sutherland will host launches by owners Orbex from next year. SaxaVord Spaceport will offer a multi-pad, multi-user, launch facility with multiple launch partners, including Scottish-based Skyrora which has developed its own eco-friendly fuel, Ecosene, made of waste plastics.
As well as its launch capabilities, Scotland is also world leading in small satellite manufacturing, with Glasgow building more satellites than any other place in Europe. Expertise in data gathering and analysis makes Scotland the data driven capital of Europe, hosting the largest centre for informatics and having more than 170 data sciences companies. And our world class research institutions have been demonstrated, as Scottish skills and innovation played an important role in the development of the instruments on board the James Webb Space Telescope.
Business Minister Ivan McKee said:
“Space brings great opportunity for Scotland in terms of the economic development it delivers, its relevance for the climate change agenda and the power it has to inspire the next generation. That is why the Scottish Government has identified it as a priority in our National Strategy for Economic Transformation
“The space sector is a key opportunity for the future, and we will continue to build on our strengths. The expertise and insight offered by the members of SISAC will be hugely beneficial to our progress.
“I am grateful to the members of this new committee for volunteering to come together to help Scotland live up to its full potential in growing the space sector.”
Chair of SISAC Joanna Peters said:
“It is the intent of the SISAC to help fuel and ignite a national passion toward a space-based economy by capitalising on its strong heritage of exploration, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
“Working with the GlobalScot organisation and our network of national and international leaders, we aim to develop strategic recommendations, building upon precise and transparent advocacy, influence, consultation, and development.”
The Scottish Government published its Space Strategy in October 2021 in partnership with industry and academia through Space Scotland and the Scottish Space Academic Forum. It mobilises the space community - across the public, private and academic sectors - to realise the collective ambition of becoming Europe’s leading space nation, capturing a £4 billion share of the global space market and 20,000 jobs in the sector by 2030. Read about the Space Strategy here.
Scotland’s growing space sector focuses on a number of high-tech, high skill and research & development intensive areas, creating an estimated total income of £254 million in 2017/18 with potential for further growth. This income supports Gross Value Added of £880 million - 14% of the UK’s total space industry contribution.
According to the most recent figures (for 2019-20) around 8440 jobs in Scotland are created by the industry - almost one fifth of all UK space sector jobs.
Scotland is the best place in the UK for launching small satellites. At present, launches are usually done on the back of larger satellite launch missions in countries such as Kazakhstan, meeting less than 35% of the total demand. Scotland’s position in the northern half of the northern hemisphere means it is well placed to launch satellites into Lower Earth Orbit (LEO). Launches from Scotland will have shorter trajectories and satellites will reach their destination more rapidly, reducing risk.
Scotland’s space sector is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and recently published a new sustainable space roadmap – the first of its kind in the world. Find out more here.
Members of SISAC are:
- Joanna Peters (Chair) CEO of StratConGlobal, in Colorado, New York.
- Professor David Alexander OBE, Director of the Rice Space Institute, Rice University, Houston, Texas.
- Fraser Dalgleish, now retired Senior Scientist, L3Harris COL (ret’d), from Melbourne, Florida.
- Waseem Naqvi, Director of Satellites, Sensors UAM, Raytheon Intelligence & Space CTO Unmanned Systems, Boston, Massachusetts.
- Yvette Hopkins, CEO of LeadHershipXchange, formerly worked at Saxavord Spaceport, based in Shetland.
- Angela Mattis, CEO of ThinkTankMaths in Edinburgh.
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