According to the science minister David Willetts, it is hoped that by 2030, the UK will have at least 10 per cent of the global space market. In an announcement to the UK Space Conference in Glasgow this week, he said that £200 million of public money will be invested to achieve this goal.
The UK space industry is worth around £9 billion a year, which could well surprise some people. It could also come as a shock to learn that tens of thousands of people throughout the country owe their job to the industry.
These are impressive numbers, particularly for a country without its own launch capability. It is going to get bigger too, and Scotland could be where it really launches with a bang.
With the Skylon spaceplane likely to see some development on its engine here, and the next generation of EUMETSAT weather satellites being built in the UK, things are certainly moving forward.
For Scotland’s part though, things are already advanced, with the Scottish-built UKUBE-1 satellite set to blast off in October of this year,
Scotland’s educational institutions are getting involved in space science too, with many spin-off companies from the universities electing for invoice factoring to help them kick start projects.
It could be a little time before a Scottish-born person ventures into space though. Indeed, with only one British astronaut presently selected for training by the European Space Agency (ESA), another Brit in space could be some time off.