Scotland now builds more space satellites that any other country in Europe, employing 7,200 people in this sector, almost one-in-five of UK space industry jobs, with many more to be created in 2018. Scotland also has 7,700 aerospace and 11,400 defence employees.
Scotland’s rapidly growing space sector brought a £6,400 million boost to the economy, according to figures released by ADS, the trade organisation for companies in the UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space Sector.
According to the ADS Scotland 2017 Industry Facts and Figures guide, the space sector is now the largest of the three industries in Scotland with an annual turnover of £2,500 million, compared to £2,000 million for aerospace and £1,900 million for defence.
Each sector invests in training and developing a highly skilled workforce for the future and there are more than 800 apprentices employed across them.
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“I welcome the news that Scotland has taken on a leading role in the construction of space satellites and I believe we can have an even bigger role, particularly in Ayrshire.
“The UK Space Agency called for industry proposals to establish a launch capability in the UK earlier this year. Both before and since I have made clear my support for Prestwick airport’s bid to become the Europe's first operational spaceport, raising the issue several times in the Scottish Parliament.
“The 2014 Spaceport UK report showed a spaceport has the potential to realise £320 million of additional economic activity for Ayrshire, creating highly skilled and well paid jobs and attracting significant investment. I want all of Ayrshire to benefit from such an opportunity.
“If the UK Tory Government would only join the SNP in its support for an Ayrshire Growth Deal, this would help deliver the funds to improve the infrastructure to and skills base across Ayrshire to maximise the economic benefits securing the spaceport would provide.”
The decision on the siting of the spaceport will be made in spring 2018.