Space industry in Scotland

From Earth observation and data analysis to satellite design, manufacture, testing, launch and operations, Scotland is in a unique position to service all your space tech needs.

Did you know?

Scotland's pioneering research, innovation, manufacturing facilities and launch sites means it has a unique end-to-end capability in the European small satellite value chain.

18% of all UK space roles

are filled by Scotland’s 8,440-person strong talent pool.*

130+ space companies

currently operate from Scotland, including renowned global and emerging companies.

40% lower costs

operating costs can be up to 40% lower in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK.

Source: *UK Space Agency

A top location in Europe for space companies

Scotland's space sector is rising faster than anywhere else in the UK, aiming to grow in value to £4 billion by 2030. It has some of the highest space-related activity in Europe. In fact, Glasgow manufactures more satellites than anywhere else in Europe.

Scotland has strong roots in satellite manufacturing, rocket manufacturing, data and ground-breaking research. And with new developments like the UK’s first orbital spaceport just around the corner, now is a great time to join Scotland’s growing space industry.

Watch our video to hear from Daniel Smith, founder of AstroAgency and Dr Murray Collins, space lead at the Bayes Centre in Edinburgh.

Space tech manufacturing excellence

The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland

You'll be in great company

From ship building to rocket ships, we’ve come a long way – Scotland now builds more satellites than anywhere else outside of California. Homegrown manufacturers like AAC Clyde Space have led the way in this space, showing the world that Scotland is the place to be for small satellite production. And with industry pioneers like US inward investor Spire now designing, building and testing their own satellites entirely in Scotland, you’ll be in great company.

Scotland's innovation and R&D centres are continually working hard to make manufacturing faster, cheaper and smarter. A prime example is the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), an industry led innovation centre hosted by the University of Strathclyde, bringing together the private and public sectors to transform skills, productivity and innovation.

Within the site is the Lightweight Manufacturing Centre which focuses on manufacturing lightweight components for space and other industries offering significant cost-savings and efficiency benefits.

What Scotland can offer your space tech company

Join a community with innovation at its heart

Scotland has a long history of producing pioneers - scientists and inventors who lead the way. From initiating the use of radar to discovering the composition of Saturn’s rings, Scotland’s innovators push boundaries and look to the future. So, it’s no surprise that Scotland has become the frontier for launch in the UK and will be home to one of the first orbital spaceports in mainland Europe.

The launch sites will complete the end-to-end capability to design, build and launch small satellites - all in Scotland.

More about innovation in Scotland

Access the skills and talent you need

When it comes to talent, Scotland exceeds all expectations. Although it makes up 9% of the UK population, Scotland is home to 18% of all space roles. As an investor, this equates to a pool of more than 8,400 talented individuals, meeting all your needs when it comes to finding the right people.

Scotland is also strongly represented in complimentary sectors such as advanced engineering, manufacturing and aerospace. These industries can offer supply-chain skill sets well suited to diversification into space-based opportunities, giving extra value from well-established expertise.

More about Scotland's people, skills and recruitment

Funding for innovation and research

If you’re looking to work on ground-breaking new ideas and tech, Scotland is a great place to be. As well as access to our highly skilled and specialised workforce, you’ll have access to European Space Agency funding programs, UK-wide funding projects (including the UK Space Agency), plus local Scottish grants to support innovative R&D.

More about financial and tax incentives in Scotland  

Benefit from ongoing support

Scotland is a place where businesses are supported and the entrepreneurial spirit is strong. This ethos is supported by our strong ecosystem of innovation centres, incubators and accelerators across the country, which provide inspiring environments for businesses to spark ideas and find like-minded talent.

The industry itself is taking the lead when it comes to developing and growing the Scottish space industry. The Scottish Space Leadership Council (SSLC) brings together businesses in commercial space to increase opportunities, efficiencies and growth through collaboration, partnering and mutual support. The SSLC aspires to raise the profile of Scotland, positioning the country as a leading global destination for access to space and space services, in an environment conducive to growth and success.

How we can help

Why Spire choose Scotland

We helped California-based satellite data specialists, Spire, get set up in Scotland quickly and easily. Skilled talent, access to risk capital, and the support we offer to innovative companies, are among the top reasons Spire chose to set up here. 

Spire operates one of the largest constellations of private nanosatellites and ground station networks in the world. In 2019, Spire secured £14.7 million investment from Scottish Enterprise which will help the firm generate over 260 jobs in Scotland. 

Read full story

Scotland's space industry ecosystem

Listen to our space podcasts

Edinburgh view from Arthur's Seat - Image by Yves Alarie on Unplash 9tAtK5ESRy0
From satellite data to space robots, experts from across Scotland reveal why Edinburgh is on course to become the space data capital of Europe.
Scotland's Secret Space Race
Interviews with politicians, astronauts, space scientists and satellite experts to unveil the incredible innovation going on in Scotland.

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Need help?

If you have a question about opportunities Scotland's space industry, our team of advisers can help.