InternationalStartups

Scottish Space Network, Sustainable Alpha Team Up To Grow Scottish Space Sector

Left to right are Ross Hamilton (Sustainable Alpha) and Andy Campbell (Scottish Space Network)
Ross Hamilton of Sustainable Alpha and Andy Campbell of the Scottish Space Network. Image: Stewart Attwood Photography.

The Scottish Space Network is working with Sustainable Alpha, a New York-based consultancy, to turn the budding Scotch space industry into a global player with the help of more international capital.

High, high hopes for the Highlands: Scotland already plays an important role in the UK’s space sector.

In 2020, Scotland was home to nearly one-fifth of all UK space sector jobs, according to Space Scotland, and the partnership with Sustainable Alpha will help foster even more growth by the end of the decade. It is also home to Sutherland Spaceport, which is expected to play a major role in the UK’s launch goals once it’s finished, and will host a new UK Space Agency office in Edinburgh set to open this summer. 

The Scottish Space Network expects Scotland’s space sector to more than double in the coming years, employing approximately 20,000 workers and creating revenues of £4B ($5.09B) by 2030.

Aid from outlanders: While the goal of the partnership with Sustainable Alpha is to drive more foreign investment into Scottish startups, investors across the pond and on the mainland have already signaled their interest in fueling the country’s space goals.

UK-based launch company Orbex, which will also operate Sutherland Spaceport on the northern coast of Scotland, recently raised £40.4M ($51.4M) in a Series C. Scottish National Investment Bank led the round, which also included money from existing investors in the US, Denmark, and Germany.

In Edinburgh, Aurora Avionics is building the first off-the-shelf avionics system for launch vehicles and secured £320,000 ($407,290) in May after gaining early backing from ESA.

Future opportunities for investors could lie in a range of emerging technologies. “I expect to see more solutions and expertise in the IoT, RF, communications, and data applications domain. Scotland also has significant clusters of cybersecurity expertise,” Ross Hamilton, founder of Sustainable Alpha, told Payload. 

Brains and Brawny: Scotland’s highly skilled workforce and comparatively low set-up costs make it an attractive place to grow a thriving space economy for “new space” startups, according to Sustainable Alpha.

“The global space supply chain is evolving and innovating quickly,” said Hamilton, “so it’s imperative that we look across the UK, Europe and internationally to understand the best-in-class solutions and where Scottish companies can be world-class leaders in the global ecosystem.”

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