Scotland’s space sector paves the way for a sustainable future

Collaborating on behalf of Space Scotland’s Environmental Task Force, AstroAgency and Optimat will work with firms north of the border and overseas, as well as the public sector, to develop the last step on the country’s path towards a future formalized sustainable space strategy.

The space sustainability roadmap – a world first – will include wide-ranging studies, consultations with the world’s leading space sustainability experts, and case studies from other sectors from which the space industry can learn. It will highlight the priority actions needed by industry, academia and government to support broader clean zero ambitions, and will address a variety of economic, legal and environmental issues to assess how access to space can be used to address current and future global problems.

The initiative aims to ensure that Scottish spaceports and launch vehicles minimize their environmental impact, and to promote the environmental and social benefits that can be gained from the UK’s small satellite launches.

Satellite image of space debris.

In addition, the roadmap will highlight the need to protect low Earth orbit along with the planet’s marine and terrestrial environment, as well as the study of peripheral space activities that can indirectly affect carbon emissions. Once drafted, the roadmap will be shared with stakeholders for endorsement and endorsement, and then published later this year.

Christina Tamane, Co-Chair of the Space Scotland Environment Task Force and Head of the Space Sector at the University of Edinburgh, said: “From clean rocket fuel to using satellites to restore local peatlands and track typhoons, Scottish space companies and universities are taking big steps towards providing more sustainable future.

“This roadmap is an opportunity to bring these activities together and identify where we can collaborate more effectively.” Edinburgh.

The space sector remains one of Scotland’s best-kept secrets, as firms have developed world-class capabilities in the production of small satellites, and the Glasgow group produces more small satellites than any other city in Europe.

Edinburgh, on the other hand, is home to the largest computer science center in Europe and over 170 data science companies.

Along the rugged edges of Scotland and at airports such as Prestwick and McRahanish, spaceports are making great strides in launching both Scottish and international small satellites, many of which are designed with environmental objectives in mind.

Applications for satellite data range from monitoring deforestation and illegal mining to helping predict natural disasters such as landslides or the spread of forest fires. way.

The rapid growth of Scottish space activities requires minimizing the impact of space activities on the environment.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose Holyrood administration is backing the roadmap, said: “As we build on the strengths of the sector, we must also focus on sustainability. Space technology will play an increasingly important role in combating climate change, but the sector must continue to reduce its own environmental footprint.”

The roadmap is designed to promote an integrated approach to space sustainability, which consists not only in reducing emissions, but also in the activities of satellites in orbit. It will provide information on space debris and space debris mitigation, as well as highlight the impact of satellites on astronomical observations, in order to catalyze meaningful international action in such areas.

Outlining his commitment, AstroAgency founder Daniel Smith said: “We want to leave no stone unturned. This is an important opportunity for Scotland to lead by example in developing the space sector of tomorrow, both on the ground and in orbit.”

The Space Sustainability and Net Zero roadmap builds on previous work by Space Scotland, including the 2021 Space Sustainability Challenges event, which brought together representatives from environmental groups, academia, schools, government and the general public to propose challenges, focused on the environment and sustainability, for the UK’s fastest growing space sector to address.

AstroAgency is a global leader in space-focused strategic communications and market intelligence, providing innovative organizations with a unique combination of market management, public relations, branding, digital marketing, event planning and business development to thrive in the commercial space sector.

Its experts have many years of technical experience in the space sector and have first-hand experience with the opportunities and challenges that are unique to space, from launch and operation to the use of satellite observations.

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