MESL Microwave reaches for the stars as Scotland’s exports grow to £24bn

FIRST Minister Alex Salmond yesterday hailed the success of a Scottish engineering company that has won contracts from Nasa, as he unveiled “rocketing” national export figures.

Edinburgh-based MESL Microwave was founded in 1964 and launched a scheme four years ago to boost its exports by targeting the fast-growing “space market”.

The company has built components for a satellite assembled by Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to measure the height of the ocean surface.

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MESL has also made parts for Mitsubishi, which is building HTV, the supply vessel for the International Space Station that replaces Nasa’s space shuttle, and for satellite manufacturers Astrium and Thales Alenia Space.

Salmond said: “MESL is boldly going where few Scottish exporters have gone before through its work with Nasa and Mitsubishi and it is just one of the many firms receiving advice and support from our enterprise agencies to grasp growth opportunities.”

MESL was awarded a £67,000 research and development grant from Scottish Enterprise to develop its space components.

Salmond’s comments came as Scottish Enterprise unveiled a £1.6 billion increase in exports during 2011 to £23.9bn.

He added: “This latest survey demonstrates that our drive and work to seize overseas exports is really taking off – our exports have literally rocketed.”

The survey showed the United States remained Scotland’s top export destination with £3.5bn of exports in 2011, followed by the Netherlands, France and Germany.