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11 Scottish space tech companies to watch

29 Jun 2020 • 6 minute read

Space tech companies in Scotland to watch helping shape the future

The earth seen from space. It is night on the planet's surface and urban and street lighting glitters from below like a string of pearls

"Space, the final frontier" a famous Star Trek Captain once said…although the Captain was not Scottish, his trusty engineer "Scotty" would have appreciated the lengths Scottish companies are going to help us reach and breach that frontier. These same companies could help your business too.

Space tech solutions for a greener planet

With amazing technologies and solutions being developed, manufactured and deployed here, Scotland’s space companies are bringing new insights and innovations to help make the world a greener, cleaner and smarter place. 

Space technology can be deployed to help mitigate the dual impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate change emergency. Although it may not be immediately obvious how, space technology is used widely in communications and tracking technologies, which will be important in monitoring, and hopefully limiting the spread of the virus. 

Ecometrica is a pioneering example of an innovative Scottish tech company using space data to help tackle global challenges, like deforestation and climate change. 

Here is just a sample of companies to watch from the 130+ companies that are shaping Scotland’s global reputation as a world-leader in space technology. 

Dundee-based space tech company Bright Ascension develops space software to help with the challenges presented by the small and nano-satellite market. Bright Ascension provided the on-board and mission control software for UKube-1, the first satellite to be built in Scotland. Its mission software solutions are fully customisable and easily adaptable across space segments, from ground control to flight.

The company is experiencing significant growth, projected to double in size in the next year.

Bright Ascension website opens in a new window  

Glasgow-based Craft Prospect is a NewSpace engineering company providing AI-enabled space technologies, mission systems consultancy and quantum encryption services. It aims to unlock the potential of Earth-observing nano-satellites for onboard data autonomy and deliver a higher mission return. 

In 2020, Craft Prospect was awarded a contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) to explore space-based quantum key distribution services.

About Craft Prospect opens in a new window  

DDK Positioning offers resilient delivery of Precise GNSS Positioning Services on a global scale to an accuracy of less than 5cm (compared to the standard GPS accuracy of ≈10m). This technology can be used in applications such as autonomous vehicles, Internet of Things (IoT) and consumer applications to professional surveys.

DDK Positioning website opens in a new window

EarthWave based at The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh is a satellite data science startup, which use a range of satellite data (including Sentinel, CryoSat and Airborne Lidar) to observe and make sense of what is happening on Earth. Specialisms include spatial data structures, system engineering, data visualisation and Earth observation. 

EarthWave website opens in a new window  

Global Surface Intelligence (GSI) use data from multiple sources (satellite, drone, UAV, and LiDAR) and work with it to transform into valuable business insights. GSI’s natural resource management platform offers the deepest insights imaginable into forestry, agriculture and changes in land use, delving much deeper into the data than has previously been possible. 

Global Surface Intelligence website opens in a new window  

Nudge Exchange can help your company find the right person with the right skillset at the right time. The company is using satellite GPS data to allow oil and gas supply chain companies to list vacancies on its digital platform and match this with contractors based on their location and skills 

Nudge Exchange website opens in a new window  

Realtime operational information and connectivity can be unreliable in remote places around the world.  Given the increasing need to access data digitally in and from these places and the fact that devices increasingly connected through technologies like Internet of Things, R3 IoT provides space technology solutions that offer reliable connectivity in remote locations. 

R3 IoT website opens in a new window  

Razorbill Instruments is a young engineering startup based in Edinburgh that manufactures precision instruments for use under cryogenic conditions. It sells specialist scientific equipment based on these technologies to universities and government research facilities across, Europe, the USA and East Asia. Razorbill Instruments has just created a new sensor use on satellites. 

Razorbill Instruments website opens in a new window  

Edinburgh-based Responsive Access is the first 'one-stop-shop' launch solution of its kind, combining innovative mission management software with a selection of critical, value adding services that simplify access to space. 

Responsive Access website opens in a new window  

Edinburgh-based satellite data company, Space Intelligence gathers, processes and analyses satellite data, selling actionable business intelligence to businesses seeking to mitigate their carbon footprint and environmental impact.

Its core services are the classification of landscapes using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning applied to big data from space; including the mapping of deforestation and forest degradation to help tackle the global climate emergency.

How Space Intelligence is helping restore the world's peatlands 

Space Intelligence website opens in a new window  

Working with commodities buyers, traders and farmers, Trade in Space use remote sensing data and machine learning to transform individual farm, local and national commodities data into better price prediction and yield insights to enable the creation of tradable contracts.  

Trade in Space website opens in a new window  

Growing space ecosystem

Scotland’s tech startup scene is flourishing. Our rising stars are following in the footsteps of some of Scotland’s leading space tech companies, such as AAC Clyde Space opens in a new window and Orbex opens in a new window .

AAC Clyde Space played an integral role in Glasgow’s emergence as a global hub for satellite manufacturing and built the UK Space Agency’s first national satellite, which was launched in 2014. 

Read about AAC Clyde Space's work with the University of Strathclyde 

With headquarters and production facilities in Forres, Orbex has developed one of the most advanced, low carbon, high performance micro-launch vehicles in the world.  

Scotland’s space tech capabilities, include: 

  • Manufacture of sub-systems for satellites, spacecraft and component parts
  • Spaceports and launch providers
  • Earth observation and data analytics 
  • Satellite communications and data processing
  • Scientific instruments and third-party ground segment operations
  • Satellite-based navigation systems
  • Research and consultancy services – market and innovation

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Find space tech solutions

From Earth observation to data analysis, satellite manufacture to launch, we can put you in touch with the right people.