More than 260 jobs will be created in Scotland’s growing space sector thanks to a major public investment, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
Glasgow-based satellite firm Spire Global will receive £14.7 million from Scottish Enterprise to help finance its relocation to new offices in the city as well as increase its local workforce from 60 to 320 over the next five years.
The award, which is one of the largest ever granted will help the company which specialises in building and testing nanosatellites used to track aviation, maritime and weather patterns.
The funding includes a £6.7m Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) award from Scottish Enterprise and an £8m commercial convertible loan note from the economic agency’s investment arm, the Scottish Investment Bank.
The Scottish Government aims to grow Scotland’s share of the global space market to £4 billion by 2030.
On a visit to Spire Global on Wednesday, the First Minister said: “Our space sector is already punching above its weight, with almost one fifth of all UK jobs in this industry based north of the border and Scotland producing more small satellites than any other country in Europe.
“This £14.7 million investment will help Spire Global develop its infrastructure and technologies, which in turn will create dozens of high-tech and highly skilled jobs and training opportunities in Scotland’s space sector.
“Only five years ago I announced Spire Global was creating 50 jobs by opening its office in Scotland - to see the rapid expansion of this innovative company shows the strength of our workforce and pool of talent coming from our world class universities.
“Spire Global’s expansion sends a strong message that even in these uncertain times, Scotland remains open for business and has the potential to be Europe’s leading space nation.”
In 2016-17, UK space exports were worth £5.5bn, and the industry currently generates more than 37 per cent of its income from abroad. In the same year, the UK space industry supported 41,900 jobs – with almost one-fifth of them based in Scotland.
CEO of Spire Global, Peter Platzer said: “We want to work with the industry to build the world’s most effective weather forecast and to be a valuable contributing member of the Global Weather Enterprise.
“We will continue to scale the company and grow our workforce in Glasgow, along with our global product offering, to help countries across all industries, as well as governments tackle ever more frequent and extreme weather events in this era of climate change.
“Glasgow has been a fantastic location for us, with exceptional talent and people with a phenomenal ‘can-do’ attitude and true grit. We are excited to substantially expand our presence here and look forward to the continuation of strong partnerships within Scotland, the UK Space Agency, and the wider UK space ecosystems.”