Space Scotland targets accelerated ascent with duo of senior appointments, boasts female leadership team

The representative body of Scotland’s space sector is aiming to fuel its growth and collaboration via two senior appointments – including signing up a NASA veteran as its first-ever executive director.

Space Scotland has for the latter role hired Dr Hina Khan, who brings more than 25 years’ experience in the industry. Her CV in addition to a spell at NASA includes roles at the European Space Agency and space-based data and analytics firm Spire.

Industry-led body Space Scotland, which is based at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, is made up of 60 space companies plus academia and government officials, and aims to make Scotland “the best place on earth to build a space business” and help the sector boost the economy north of the Border by more than £4 billion a year by 2030. Additionally, it has appointed space, health and energy expert Dr Natasha Nicholson to the cluster manager post, with further roles to be filled over the coming months.

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Funding for Dr Khan’s appointment, as well as the other roles in the organisation, has come from Scottish Enterprise, following an initial UK Space Agency grant to formalise the Scottish space cluster through Space Scotland.

Dr Hina Khan joins Space Scotland as its first-ever executive director, and says she is looking forward to bringing a fresh perspective to the industry. Picture: Mark F Gibson/Gibson Digital.

Dr Khan said she is looking forward to bringing a fresh perspective to the industry, adding: “I like to look at my [new] role as ensuring that space capabilities are utilised by people who need it as part of their infrastructure and for business connections. The space sector in Scotland is a very close-knit community, which creates togetherness for businesses across the board. I am really looking forward to the many exciting years ahead in this flourishing and diverse sector and I hope that the establishment of Space Scotland will continue to have a greatly positive impact – one that I am thrilled to be leading on.”

Daniel Smith, director of Space Scotland, stated: “Hina’s impressive space sector background covers both business and academia, working locally within Scotland but also internationally. This experience, combined with connections across governments and international space agencies, really helped her stand out to us among the list of high-calibre candidates." Dr Paul Bate, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said Dr Khan brings a “wealth of experience and I am sure she, and her team, will drive Scotland’s space sector to new heights.”

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