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Scotland’s space industry takes flight

October 1, 2021
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Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Scotland hopes to be among the world leaders in space industry research and jobs, and a new U.S. contract will boost those ambitions.

Scotland wants to be a global center for the space industry, and a contract with an American satellite-based telecommunications company, Mangata Networks, is another step in that direction.

Arizona-based Mangata will build a research and development center in Edinburgh to advance its technology. The center will create 38 jobs, and its long-term goal is to become Mangata’s European headquarters, which eventually could bring additional investment and jobs.

Mangata’s decision “underlines Scotland’s strength in the space sector,” said Scottish Trade and Innovation Minister Ivan McKee. “Scotland already punches above its weight, with 8,000 people directly employed in the industry, and Glasgow alone builds more small satellites than any other city in Europe. Our geography, established industries and research activity combine to put us in an enviable position to exploit this fast-growing sector.”

Scotland’s national economic development agency provided £3.6 million ($4.7 million USD) for the project, and Mangata will make an initial £10.5 million ($13.7 million USD) investment in Scotland.

The space industry is growing more quickly in Scotland than in any other part of the UK, and is expected to be valued at £4 billion ($5.2 billion USD) by 2030, according to Scottish Development International. More than 130 space-related companies operate in Scotland. Almost one-fifth of all UK jobs in the space sector are in Scotland, and the industry has grown 12% a year, compared with a 3% growth rate for the UK as a whole.

“Space has an important role to play as we build a sustainable, highly skilled and globally competitive economy,” McKee said.

Scotland’s goal is to become the first country in Europe to provide an end-to-end solution for manufacturing and launching small satellites, as well as a pioneer in satellite data analysis that could provide solutions for climate change.

New legislation provides a regulatory framework for the UK space industry, helping to tap into market opportunities over the next decade, with the potential for creating thousands of jobs and benefiting communities across the UK. The government has established a National Space Council as a Cabinet committee and is developing a UK space strategy to help this cutting-edge industry reach its maximum potential.

This growth and collaboration can offer significant opportunities for Wisconsin companies that offer services and technology in the space industry, in order to help Scotland achieve its ambitious targets.

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