Richard Lochhead, Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, Scottish Government, looked at how the Scottish space industry has moved on in the last 12 months following the groundbreaking of several launch sites in the country, with vertical launches on the horizon.

Speaking to FINN, he said, “There’s huge momentum in the space sector in Scotland at the moment and it really is quite mindboggling the pace at which the sector is advancing. We’ve got a couple of launch sites being constructed as we speak – we’ve got one in Sutherland and one on Shetland, and a number of others across the country.”

Sector investment

Lochhead also explored the importance of working with other nations in the UK to advance the space sector, as well as inward investment projects coming into Scotland to develop the supply chain.

“We have end-to-end capability – we’re making the satellites, we’re making the rockets, we’re constructing the launch sites and we have the data companies and analytics companies to make the most of the observation and the data. You can’t get that in any other country, so that is one of the attractions that is bringing a lot of companies to Scotland.”

Ambitious plans

Lochhead shared his predictions for the future of the Scottish space industry too, with ambitions to grow the sector to 20,000 jobs in the next 10 years, and with salaries being 2.5 times that of the UK average, the sector adds a lot of value to the Scottish economy. “We’re very lucky in Scotland ­– we’ve got great universities, we’ve got the talent, and we’ve got the research institutes as well, and that all working together means we can take advantage of a high-tech sector that is going places.”

He also predicted that Scotland would have the first vertical launch in the next few months which will “put Scotland on the map”.
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