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UK Space Agency to open office in Scotland for first time

The UK Space Agency is opening an office in Scotland for the first time, as it seeks to support the country’s growing sector.

The UK Government agency will open an office at Queen Elizabeth House in Edinburgh, which is already home to a number of UK departments.

The first ever satellite launch into space from UK soil is expected later this year, with German company Rocket Factory Augsburg aiming to carry out its first flight from SaxaVord Spaceport in Shetland in the summer.

A number of companies around Glasgow are involved in satellite manufacture and the Scottish space sector is believed to generate £180m in income a year, and employs more than 8,500 people.

The UK Space Agency says around 30 staff will be based in Edinburgh initially, but this may grow in the future.

Its overall headquarters is moving to Harwell in Oxfordshire and offices are also opening in Cardiff and Leicester.

The agency’s chief executive Paul Bate said: “Scotland is a global hub for satellite manufacturing and the analysis of satellite data and it is increasingly becoming a leading destination for satellite launch.

“We have seen a significant rise in space organisations across the Scottish space ecosystem and it’s crucial we nurture their skills and expertise, and connect them with the wider sector, to ensure we continue this journey.”

The agency has awarded money to the spaceports under construction at SaxaVord and in Sutherland, as well as a number of companies building rockets.

UK Government minister for Scotland, Lord Donald Cameron, said: “The Scottish space sector continues to go from strength to strength, with the latest figures showing an almost £40m increase in income and more than 100 new, highly-skilled jobs with support from the UK Government.”

Hina Khan, executive director of the trade body Space Scotland, said: “We eagerly anticipate the opportunities that this closer collaboration will bring, as we work hand in hand to leverage Scotland’s strengths and expertise.

“By fostering greater connectivity and co-operation, we can drive innovation, create new jobs, and propel Scotland’s space sector to even greater heights.”

Source: Insider

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