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Scottish space showcase planned at Farnborough Airshow

A collaboration led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise along with members of Space Scotland will highlight the country’s growing space industry, with representatives coming from satellite, launch and spaceport companies attending the Farnborough International Airshow.

Scotland is a major region for space employment despite comparatively low population figures

The Farnborough International Airshow will make its return this month after a long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since the first event in 1948 it has acted as a major trade exhibition for the aerospace industry, demonstrating a variety of aircraft to potential customers and investors. Following the success of 2018, the show will again include a dedicated ‘Space Zone’ that will highlight the UK’s rapidly expanding space sector to a local and international business and public audience.


Following the formation of Space Scotland to galvanise and promote Scotland’s strong space research heritage and vibrant commercial ‘newspace’ activity, the industry-led group of over fifty space companies formerly known as the Scottish Space Leadership Council will feature as an exhibitor in the Space Zone. Participants will showcase Space Scotland’s collaborative approach, including the group’s strong bonds with academia and both Scottish Government and UK governmental bodies such as the UK Space Agency, while seeking new international partners and inward investment.


The exhibition stand has been secured by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, together with thirteen companies from Space Scotland who will be sponsoring the trip and crewing the set-up over the five days, allowing them to engage with those looking to learn more about Scotland’s place in the UK sector. Included in the sponsoring firms are all five of the country’s spaceport developments who make up the UK Spaceports Alliance, a working group that seeks to maximise Scotland’s geographical position and commercial appetite to become Europe’s leading spaceflight nation and a global hub for the launch of small satellites via small launch vehicles.


Space Scotland Cluster Manager Dr. Natasha Nicholson stated, “Exhibiting at a major space conference has been something we’ve talked about doing collaboratively for some time. With the Scottish Space Strategy launched last year and so much happening across Scotland to support the commercial space sector, as well as major research missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope, the time is right to show our united approach to developing the sector.”


A recent survey of firms by the UK Space Agency found that Scotland accounted for one fifth of all UK space sector employment, the highest proportion of space jobs in the sector compared to other parts of the UK.


Although Space Scotland will be represented by the sponsor companies, each firm will arrive with the remit of promoting the wider Scottish and UK space landscape. The firms attending will include Prestwick Spaceport, Space Hub Sutherland, Saxa Vord Spaceport, Discover Space, Spaceport 1, AstroAgency, Spire, Skyrora, Gardiner and Theobald, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, North Coast Space Cluster, Osprey and the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland.


Roy Kirk, Project Director of Space Hub Sutherland, HIE said, “Highlands and Islands Enterprise is happy to lead and support a wide range of companies involved in developing Space in Scotland. It is a reflection of our confidence that the Space sector is quickly developing in Scotland and is offering real growth in the Highlands and Islands. The range of Launch opportunities in the Highlands and Islands is a testimony to the wide range of opportunities in the Region. We see the Space sector as being a key sector for the future for the Highlands and Islands.


Mick O’Connor, Programme Director at Prestwick Spaceport and part of the organising team , stated “Scotland’s space industry punches well above its weight. I put this down to three things; fantastically innovative companies, established academic base and cross government support. The key to success is collaboration, Farnborough International Airshow will enable us to display Scotland’s capabilities and show the world how we are working together to achieve our collective ambition”.


The Farnborough International Airshow will take place between the 18th and 22nd of July with more than 80,000 visitors expected from more than one hundred countries over the first four trade days, before thousands more flock to watch aircraft displays during Friday’s public day.

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