Scotland showcases space ambitions at LA summit

Scotland showcases space ambitions at LA summit

Scotland’s space industry is primed to be a world leader, asserts innovation minister Richard Lochhead, who is set to showcase Scotland’s prowess at the Space Economy Summit in Los Angeles.

He will outline to delegates at the summit how Scotland is making an important contribution to exploration, innovation and economic growth of the sector.

The Summit, sponsored by The Economist, 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 in Shetland, 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.”

He continued: “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.”

Financial insights indicate the upward trajectory of Scotland’s space sector. With a focus on cutting-edge technology and R&D, the industry boasted an income of £254 million in 2017/18, contributing £880m or 14% to the UK’s overall space sector GVA.

The sector supports approximately 8,440 jobs in Scotland, constituting nearly 20% of the UK’s space industry employment.

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