Scotland should 'boldly go' into a space age future – Scotsman comment

Twenty thousand new jobs by 2030 and a £4 billion share of a global market?

The number of space businesses in Scotland has risen by 65 per cent since 2016 (Picture: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images)

Anyone who struggled to stifle a guffaw when talk of Scotland ‘entering the Space Race’ first began may have to think again if new plans come to fruition.

But then, given more satellites are built in Glasgow than any other European city, they probably should already have done so.

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The Scottish Space Strategy, developed by the Scottish government, Space Scotland and the Scottish Space Academic Forum, aims to turn this country into a global leader in the commercial space industry.

This may sound like pie in the sky to some, but the number of space businesses in Scotland has risen by an astonishing 65 per cent since 2016, so something rather exciting does seem to be happening.

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Launching the strategy, Business Minister Ivan McKee spoke of the determination of “our space community” – a phrase we hope to hear much more about – to deliver what he agreed was an “ambitious agenda”.

“The potential is enormous. Our targets are similarly far reaching and I am confident we can achieve them,” he added.

While reaching far does come with the risk of over-reach, we should resist the siren calls of those in the grip of the “Scottish cultural cringe”, which can make us doubt that we can ever do great things and lead us to treat anything remotely ambitious with undue caution, suspicion and even outright contempt.

The Scottish Space Strategy is bold but then, as we know, “to boldly go” into new and unfamiliar territory is an adventure that’s not to be missed.

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