SCOTLAND’S ambition to become Europe’s leading space nation by 2030 is being given a boost through the guidance of a group of global experts. 

The Scotland International Space Advisory Committee (SISAC) consists of members of the Scottish Government’s GlobalScot programme.

This is made up of Scots in business around the world who have come together to provide advice and identify opportunities to achieve a £4 billion share of the global space market and 20,000 jobs in the sector over the next seven years. 

Scotland is making major advances in the sector, with the first orbital launch from Scottish soil due this year. 

READ MORE: Scottish space sector has published 'first of its kind' roadmap

Both SaxaVord Spaceport in Shetland and Space Hub Sutherland are months away from lift off. 

The latter will host launches by owners Orbex from next year while SaxaVord will offer a multi-pad, multi-user launch facility with multiple launch partners. 

Business minister Ivan McKee said: “Space brings great opportunity for Scotland in terms of the economic development it delivers, its relevance for the climate change agenda and the power it has to inspire the next generation. 

“That is why the Scottish Government has identified it as a priority in our National Strategy for Economic Transformation. 

“The space sector is a key opportunity for the future, and we will continue to build on our strengths. 

“The expertise and insight offered by the members of SISAC will be hugely beneficial to our progress.

“I am grateful to the members of this new committee for volunteering to come together to help Scotland live up to its full potential in growing the space sector.”

Scotland is also one of the world’s leading nations in small satellite manufacturing, with Glasgow building more than anywhere else in Europe. 

According to the most recent figures (published in 2019-20), around 8440 jobs in Scotland are created by the industry.

This represents almost one fifth of UK space sector jobs. SISAC chair Joanna Peter said that it was the committee’s intent to “fuel and ignite a national passion toward a space-based economy”. 

“Working with the GlobalScot organisation and our network of national and international leaders, we aim to develop strategic recommendations, building upon precise and transparent advocacy, influence, consultation and development.”

Scotland’s position in the northern half of the northern hemisphere means it is well placed to launch satellites into Lower Earth Orbit (LEO). 

Launches from Scotland will have shorter trajectories and satellites will reach their destination more rapidly, reducing risk.