Photo of Scotland taken by the International Space Station's Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams

What is the Scottish Space Strategy?

The Scottish Government in collaboration with Space Scotland and the Scottish Space Academic Forum have launched the Scottish Space Strategy. The strategy sets out the mission to place Scotland as the home of ‘New Space,’ capitalizing on the nation’s current space triumphs.

Seeking to create 20,000 jobs, which will increase in the workforce fivefold and secure a £4 billion share of the global space market. The strategy will achieve this by positioning Scotland as a global leader for commercial space, establishing a range of managed launch and orbital services.  This in turn will boost Scotland’s economic opportunities through exports and whilst plugging gaps in capability through inward investment.Photo of Scotland taken by the International Space Station's Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams

A key tenant of the strategy is the introduction of ‘Team Scotland’ which will see greater cooperation between industry, government, and academia. Within the Team Scotland umbrella, companies within the Scottish space sector have formed Space Scotland, which will create a unified voice for industry, provide sectoral level leadership and support to enable, promote and grow the Scottish space sector.

Space is a retained policy area under the control of the UK Government; however The Scottish Government has reaffirmed the importance of the space sector for the Scottish economy and has therefore formed the Scottish Government Space Group (SGSG) to support the existing Space Scotland (formerly the Scottish Space Leadership Council).

Strategy Actions

The strategy commits to achieve several actions, these include:

  1. Conduct sector analysis through the Scottish Space Sector Assessment. Through this they can provide a regular assessment of the Scottish space landscape.
  2. Support for Entrepreneurs through mentoring and investment through Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish National Investment Bank.
  3. Promote exports through Scottish Development International.
  4. Help develop launch programmes and spaceports.
  5. Promote diversity in the Scottish space sector.
  6. Promote Scotland as a world leader for sustainability in the space sector.

Sector Challenges

As well as several actions the strategy also identifies three challenges facing the Scottish space sector. They are:

  1. How can the Scottish space sector deliver value to Scotland through the provision of data and information for use across government, and for international and domestic commercial services?
  2. What does the Scottish space sector consider to be the future opportunities in commercial space beyond small satellites and what areas should Scotland seek to target?
  3. How do we ensure that the talent pipeline is providing the right mix of skills, in the right quantities, at the right time, to support the anticipated growth trajectory of the sector?

Launching the plan virtually, Scottish Business Minister Ivan McKee said:

“The Scottish Space Strategy demonstrates the determination of our space community to work together to deliver this ambitious agenda… The potential is enormous. Our targets are similarly far reaching, and I am confident we can achieve them.”

The number of space businesses in Scotland has increased by more than 65% since 2016. The sector proportionately employs over twice as many people in Scotland as the rest of the UK.

The Scottish Space Strategy works in conjunction with the UK Government’s National Space Strategy, ADS analysis can be read here. ADS Scotland (acting on behalf of ADS and UKspace) are members of Space Scotland (formerly the Scottish Space Leadership Council.) Any members wishing to engage with either the Scottish sector or to help deliver the strategy can contact the ADS Scotland team who’ll be happy to help.