Comment: Scotland’s Space Sector Approaches the Final Frontier
Callum Sinclair, Head of Technology & Commercial at Burness Paull, discusses the ongoing innovation and excitement in Scotland’s commercial space sector.
Scotland is nearer to the final frontier than you may think. With the space industry planning to grow its value to £4 billion by 2030, there are some incredible opportunities for businesses to get on board the accelerating rocket ship.
Space in Scotland, really? Yes, really. There are a collection of terrific businesses in Scotland already working on CubeSat/small satellite technologies and forming part of the supply chain which ultimately delivers to the UK Space Agency, European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.
Businesses such as Walker Precision Engineering, Clyde Space, Skyrora and Alba Orbital are all doing this already. But perhaps the biggest opportunity is in data analytics and insight that can be derived from the vast amount of data available from space.
Companies like Spire, Global Surface Intelligence and Ecometrica are all solving problems on Earth using data from space, for example, in areas such as climate monitoring and deforestation.
As well as the country’s rich history in culture and innovation, Scotland has an enviable talent pool in engineering and strong support and funding network for early-stage businesses. There is a cluster of exciting space businesses, like Trade in Space, at the Tontine accelerator in Glasgow for example.
Plans are also being accelerated for Scotland’s first spaceport at Sutherland in the Highlands, where there are perfect conditions to reach polar orbit from vertical launch – commercial missions are already being lined up from this site.
- Space Research Lab Officially Opens at University of Glasgow
- 5 of the Coolest Space Companies Innovating in Scotland
- 100th Glasgow-built Satellite Launched into Space
What are the issues that space businesses have to be thinking about?
The same issues that lots of small and scaling businesses do. Protecting intellectual property rights, obtaining funding and investment, employee issues – ranging from share schemes to immigration – and putting appropriate commercial contracts in place to protect their interests.
And, of course, navigating space-related regulation, such as planning issues for launch sites, is another key talking point.
How can you Help?
We have helped some of the great companies named above in all of these areas. We regularly act for enterprise organisations and funders providing financial support.
How can I get involved?
There are a range of space-related organisations (e.g. Satellite Finance Network, Space Network Scotland, and Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications) and events, such as Data.Space, throughout Scotland. Welcome on board!