Scottish spaceports ‘months from launch’ after committee of experts formed

Scotland aims to become Europe's leading space nation by 2030

Scotland aims to become Europe’s leading space nation by 2030

SCOTLAND’s ambition to become Europe’s leading space nation by 2030 has been reinforced by the guidance of a group of global experts.

The Scottish International Space Advisory Committee (SISAC) is made up of members of the Scottish Government’s GlobalScot programme.

It is made up of Scots in business around the world who have come together to advise and identify opportunities to achieve a share of the £4 billion global space market and 20,000 jobs in the sector over the next seven years.

Scotland is making significant progress in this sector, with the first orbital launch from Scottish soil expected later this year.

READ MORE: Scotland’s space sector has released a ‘first of its kind’ action plan

Both SaxaVord Spaceport in Shetland and Space Hub Sutherland are months away from launch.

The latter will host Orbex owner-led launches from next year, while SaxaVord will offer a multi-user, multi-start launch platform with multiple launch partners.

Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “Space offers a great opportunity for Scotland in terms of the economic development it provides, its relevance to the climate change agenda and the power it has to inspire the next generation.

“That is why the Scottish Government has made this a priority in our National Strategy for Economic Transition.

“The space sector is a key opportunity for the future and we will continue to build on our strengths.

“The experience and knowledge offered by SISAC members will be extremely beneficial to our progress.

“I am grateful to the members of this new committee for their voluntary cooperation to help Scotland realize its full potential in the development of the space sector.”

Scotland is also one of the world’s leading countries in the production of small satellites, with Glasgow building more than anywhere else in Europe.

According to the latest figures (published in 2019-2020), industry creates around 8,440 jobs in Scotland.

This represents almost a fifth of jobs in the UK space sector. SISAC chairwoman Joanna Peter said the committee’s intention was to “fuel and ignite national passion for a space-based economy.”

“Working with GlobalScot and our network of national and international leaders, we aim to develop strategic recommendations based on precise and transparent advocacy, influence, consultation and development.”

Scotland’s location in the northern part of the Northern Hemisphere means it is well positioned to launch satellites into lower earth orbit (LEO).

Launched from Scotland, they will have shorter trajectories and the satellites will reach their destination faster, reducing risk.

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