Nicola Sturgeon visits Clyde Space as they announce US expansion

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, visits Clyde Space to see first-hand the latest space technology being developed an examines one of the companies satellites. Picture: John Devlin.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, visits Clyde Space to see first-hand the latest space technology being developed an examines one of the companies satellites. Picture: John Devlin.

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The Glasgow company which designed and manufactured Scotland’s first satellite, today announced it is opening its first subsidiary company in the United States.

As First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited the company’s Glasgow headquarters, CEO Craig Clark also revealed that to meet rising demand for the company’s products, it has increased its current manufacturing capacity by creating an additional 2500 square feet ‘clean room’ for building and testing satellites.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Clyde Space is a great example of an innovative Scottish company expanding internationally and, with financial support from Scottish Enterprise, committed to creating new jobs in Glasgow.

“This announcement by Clyde Space clearly demonstrates Scotland’s growing influence in the space technology field.

“Our cost effective and supportive business environment, strong and highly skilled workforce and world-class universities are not only enabling the development of Scottish companies but also attracting business from leading names in the space technology industry like NASA and MIT.

“The spacecraft sector showcases Scotland’s scientific and engineering excellence and enhances our global reputation for research, design and innovation.”

During Ms Sturgeon' s visit she meet the company CEO Craig Clark and engineering staff. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

During Ms Sturgeon' s visit she meet the company CEO Craig Clark and engineering staff. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

Craig Clark said: “Our American customers have been asking us to open in the USA for a number of years and we see huge opportunities there both in commercial space activity and also in the defence sector. Over 90 per cent of our sales are exported and it is the logical move for our first investment overseas.

“About 40 per cent of our business already comes from the USA through the supply of sub-systems to organisations such as US data company SPIRE Global, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), NASA and the US Air Force.

READ MORE: Glasgow space agency envisions Scottish spaceport

The acquisition of more space at its current headquarters follows the company’s most successful year and comes just 13 months after moving from its previous base because it was too small.

This announcement by Clyde Space clearly demonstrates Scotland’s growing influence in the space technology field

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

In just over a year the Clyde Space team has doubled to 75 staff and that is expected to increase to 100 this year. The recruitment will bolster spacecraft development, manufacturing, business development and back-office functions.

An average of four spacecraft a month are being produced in the current ‘clean room’, a number that is expected to increase rapidly in the next 12-18 months.

Clyde Space produces small satellite, nanosatellite and CubeSat systems – fully functional satellites that ‘piggy-back’ on other launches to minimise costs and boost the commercial viability of space research.

Since moving into its current base just over a year ago, £500,000 has been invested in space environment test facilities but demand for its products is already outstripping capacity.

Current recruiting has been part-funded by a Regional Selective Assistance Grant of £480,000 from Scottish Enterprise.

Clark said: “Due to the need for highly skilled staff to service our customer needs, it can take time for us to recruit and embed new members of the team. Given how fast our market and company are growing, we really need to recruit ahead of time.”

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