Glasgow builds more satellites than any other European city

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visits Clyde Space in 2016 to see first-hand the latest space technology being developed in their 'clean room'. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visits Clyde Space in 2016 to see first-hand the latest space technology being developed in their 'clean room'. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

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Scotland’s space industry is growing thanks to a combination of private and public sector investment centred around Glasgow, a tech conference will hear this week.

Data.Space, which runs from February 1-2, will draw together industry players from across Europe interested in satellites and the value of the data being collected from them.

The space industry has created more than 7,000 jobs north of the border and is worth some £130m to the Scottish economy.

Glasgow has built more satellites in the last two years than any other European city, thanks to firms such as Clyde Space - Scotland’s first micro satellite company.

The company specialises in building components for CubeSats - a type of miniaturized satellite for space research made up of multiples of cubic units no more than 1.33 kgs.

The company guaranteed its place at the forefront of developments following the successful launch in 2014 of UKube-1, the first satellite to be fully assembled in Scotland.

Leading the manufacturing charge is American firm Spire, which was founded in San Fransisco in 2012 but chose to open its European base in Glasgow.

Spire CEO Peter Platzer told BBC Scotland he had lost count of exactly how many Scottish built satellites are in orbit.

“We have up there about 20 satellites, all exclusively built here in Glasgow,” he said.

“We have, I believe another 24 or 36 on the shelf ... that are waiting on their launch slot or sitting on their rocket right now.”

“We launch four to eight satellites every single month - and we do so year in, year out.

“No-one else has as much access to space as we do.”

Platzer will deliver the keynote address when Data.Space opens on Wednesday.

Thanks to Spire, Scotland was at the cutting edge of the ‘NewSpace revolution’, festival organisers said.

“Scotland is at the forefront of developing and commercialising data-led applications which are rapidly changing the way we live and interact with our environment and with world leading companies such as Spire and Clyde Space now established in Glasgow, the city is rapidly developing into the international hub for the emerging, entrepreneurial, innovation-led NewSpace sector,” they said.

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