February 6, 2018

The next frontier - did you know that there’s a lot of Space in Scotland?

This podcast is about the Space industry in Scotland. What? Didn't you know there is a burgeoning space industry in Scotland? Well, make sure you listen.

Scotland has more than 100 companies, turning over collectively more than £130M. There are more than 800 people directly employed in the Scottish Space industry and that number is growing. From globally renowned companies, in small-scale satellite design and manufacture, to new Space companies starting up, there is an existing and growing ecosystem that includes manufacture, world-leading earth observation data management and our higher education and research institutions including the brand new Higgs Centre for Innovation in Edinburgh.

Listen and find out more about these Scottish Space companies

Axon Cables opened a technical office in Singapore in 2017 and as Nigel Kellet said, their cables are on a lot of missions and also in automotive applications.

STAR-Dundee were awarded Design and Innovation Business of the Year in 2017 and in 2017  they also transitioned to becoming an employee-owned company.

We love podcasts where we find out things we did not know. We discovered a lot about space and also that our Ken has a Mission Control fixation. Fortunately for all of us, that was sated when he spoke to Bright Ascension. Bright Ascension build flight control and mission control software. It was founded in 2011 to offer a fresh and innovative approach to space software.

“Just the disembodied voice of capcom whoever that was. Perhaps he had a cape.”

Perhaps the most high profile company in space in Scotland is Clydespace. In 2017 a new chapter Clydespace’s expansion opened when they joined with Swedish space tech company AAC Microtec to form a global company utilising their joint skills to further develop their presence in the high-reliability small satellite sector. 

Alba Orbital make even smaller satellites called nanosats including their PocketQube design. Alba Orbital’s PocketQube format could fit in your pocket.

Earth observation is another specialism in companies across Scotland. Richard Tipper, executive chairman of Ecometrica   described Ecometrica as :

“A netflix for the end content of earth observation, to the end user.” 

Astrosat is also well known as experts in sourcing, analysing and deploying satellite driven data. As Fraser Hamilton the COO of Astrosat says : 

“Space is a big frontier for scotland.” 

Another company that decided to set up in Scotland, Birdi is an image curation company, in fact, the only service to offer commercial satellite imagery and insight in a one-stop-shop. 

Other companies mentioned in this podcast include: https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/global/activities/space , www.spire.com

*There are many more companies than we featured in this podcast that work in the space and aerospace industry in Scotland. Other companies are very much available.*


Universities and FE colleges

The Scottish university sector in Scotland has significant strengths in Space and Aerospace. At the time of publishing this podcast, University of Strathclyde's Dept of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering includes Future Air-Space Transportation Technology, Advanced Space Concepts Lab, Institute of Photonics, Advanced Composites Group and the Space Mechatronics Lab.

University of Glasgow's Dept of Aeronautical Sciences includes Aerospace Structures & Materials, Autonomous Vehicle Systems, Flight Dynamics, Fluid Mechanics and Space Systems Engineering. University of Edinburgh 's Dept of Mechanical Engineering has expertise in computer-controlled electro-mechanical solutions, the University of the West of Scotland has expertise in composite materials and coatings research and the University of Dundee has a Space Technology Centre.

Scottish Further Education Colleges provide specialist training in aeronautical engineering, trade and craft skills.

Hina Khan from the  Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications (SoXSA) finishes our ppodcast. SoXSA has an end-to-end focus on the use of satellite-derived data and develops new concepts in the exploitation of space enabling new space mission technologies that deliver new space-based data products in response to user needs. Through this, SoXSA seeks to foster economic growth and launch new opportunities.

We would like to say a huge thanks to our colleagues in SDI and Karen Wilson in Scottish Enterprise for providing the information and support in the making of this podcast.


If you are considering setting up in Scotland as so many overseas businesses have done, contact SDI . Already in Scotland need support? Contact Scottish Enterprise.

Looking for international commercial or technical partner? Or to access EU funding for innovation? Speak to us. The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) is an international network spanning more than 60 countries. We can find you collaborative partners across the world in space, aerospace and dual-use technologies industries.

Find your local Enterprise Europe Network office here. In Scotland and want to contact us? Our website is here and you can email us using info@enterprise-europe-scotland.com.


* Photo by NASA on Unsplash

More episodes

Load more

Play this podcast on Podbean App