Science

Space strategy sets out ambitious plans to see industry take off

It says the sector could be worth £4 billion a year to Scotland's economy by the end of the decade.

The space industry could be worth £4 billion a year to Scotland’s economy by the end of this decade, an “ambitious” new blueprint for the sector has suggested.

The Scottish Space Strategy sets the goal of growing the industry, with up to 20,000 jobs created by 2030.

The space sector generated £880 million for the economy 2017-18, and Holyrood ministers hope that will be vastly increased over the coming years.

The strategy says achieving year-on-year growth of 26% is “challenging but realistic”.

Speaking at the virtual launch event, which took place during Expo 2020 in Dubai, business minister Ivan McKee said: “Our aims are clear – we want to achieve a £4 billion share of the global space market, deliver a dedicated launch capability as early as next year and create 20,000 jobs in the sector by 2030.”

The strategy document says Scotland already has “an established, growing reputation for small satellite manufacture”, along with “rapidly developing” facilities for launching such vessels into space.

The country is also home to small and medium sized businesses which have the “capabilities needed by the space sector”, it adds, while Scotland’s “world class university research and undergraduate programmes” will be able to “feed directly into the growing space sector”.

As a result, the strategy says: “Scotland can take a global leadership position in this emerging and burgeoning new space sector.”

Mr McKee stressed the “determination” in the sector in Scotland to work together to deliver the “ambitious agenda”.

He said: “We will broaden the diversity of the sector, increase its sustainability, exports and inward investment, and enhance education to inspire the next generation of space industry workers.

“The potential is enormous. Our targets are similarly far reaching and I am confident we can achieve them.”

The new strategy has been developed by the Scottish Government in collaboration with enterprise agencies, the industry group Space Scotland and the Scottish Space Academic Forum.

Chair of Space Scotland Craig Clark hailed it as a “landmark in the development of the Scottish space sector”.

He said it would set out to “build on the impressive growth and momentum the sector has demonstrated over the past decade” and would help position Scotland in a “rapidly expanding global market”.

Mr Clark added: “We have a young, dynamic community of space companies and are ready to take the Scottish space sector to the next level.”

Scottish Space Academic Forum chair Professor Iain Woodhouse said: “We are fully behind this exciting initiative.

“It will be the new talent and scientific innovation coming out of Scottish higher education institutions that forms the bedrock of the Scottish space sector and we are ready to step up and fulfil that role to ensure the strategy is a success.”

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