UK Space Agency Establishes First-Ever Office in Scotland

26/03/2024
earth from space with rising sun

THE UK Government has announced the establishment of a new office for the UK Space Agency in Scotland, marking a significant step towards closer collaboration with the country’s thriving space sector. Scotland’s space industry, which contributes significantly to both national and global space endeavors, generates £180 million in annual income and employs over 8,500 individuals across more than 180 organizations. This makes Scotland the third-largest hub for space employment in the UK, trailing only London and the South East of England.

The newly opened office, located at Queen Elizabeth House in Edinburgh, is part of a broader strategic initiative by the UK Space Agency, which includes the establishment of offices in Cardiff and Leicester, along with a new headquarters at the Harwell Space Cluster in Oxfordshire.

Dr. Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency, described the move as transformational, emphasizing the importance of embedding the agency within the sector. The headquarters at Harwell, along with regional offices in Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Leicester, will facilitate the recruitment of space talent from across the nation and support the implementation of the National Space Strategy.

Scotland’s prominence as a global hub for satellite manufacturing, satellite data analysis, and satellite launch operations is on the rise. The UK Space Agency has allocated approximately £30 million to support companies operating from SaxaVord Spaceport in Unst, Shetland, and £2.5 million to Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for the development of Sutherland Spaceport on the A’ Mhòine peninsula. These investments are part of the UK Government’s efforts to establish the UK as a leading destination for satellite launches in Europe.

Furthermore, the Scottish launch sector has benefited from funding awarded through the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Boost! Programme, with Scottish-based companies such as HyImpulse and RFA UK (Rocket Factory Ltd) receiving substantial support for their launch plans.

Donald Cameron, the UK Government minister for Scotland, praised the growth of Scotland’s space sector, citing an increase in income and the creation of over 100 new highly skilled jobs with support from the UK Government.

Dr. Hina Khan, executive director of Space Scotland, expressed anticipation for the opportunities that closer collaboration with the UK Space Agency will bring. She highlighted the potential for innovation, job creation, and further advancement of Scotland’s space sector through enhanced connectivity and cooperation.

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