The UK Space Agency is boosting its presence in Scotland with a new office in Edinburgh – as it bids to support a rapidly-expanding sector.

Staff will be based at the UK Government’s Queen Elizabeth House hub in the capital to support the national ecosystem in emerging space-related industries and drive for net zero.

These include Earth observation, satellite broadband as well as emerging markets such as in‑orbit spacecraft servicing, active space debris removal, and the new lunar economy.

Dr Hina Khan, executive director of Space Scotland, said: “The opening of the UK Space Agency’s new office in Scotland is very welcomed by Space Scotland. We look forward to strengthening our partnership and fostering greater involvement with the UK Space Agency in developing the Scottish Space Ecosystem.   

“We eagerly anticipate the opportunities that this closer collaboration will bring, as we work hand in hand to leverage Scotland’s strengths and expertise. By fostering greater connectivity and cooperation, we can drive innovation, create new jobs, and propel Scotland’s space sector to even greater heights.”

The UK Space Agency is opening new headquarters in Harwell, Oxfordshire as well as the regional offices in Scotland, Wales and the Midlands to support the space sector across the UK. 

Aligned with the government’s Levelling Up strategy, the expansion will enable the agency to collaborate more closely with the UK’s thriving space sector, while promoting regional skills and job opportunities to deliver increasingly ambitious missions and capabilities. 

The UK space sector is growing faster than the rest of the UK economy. It’s worth over £17.5 billion per year and employs over 45,000 people, while satellites underpin £360 billion per year of wider economic activity.

The new HQ at Harwell is due to open in June, while offices at William Morgan House in Cardiff and Space Park Leicester will open in April, with the office at Queen Elizabeth House, in Edinburgh, opening later in the summer.   

UK Government minister for Scotland, Donald Cameron, said: “The Scottish space sector continues to go from strength to strength with the latest figures showing an almost £40 million increase in income and more than 100 new highly-skilled jobs with support from the UK Government. I welcome the UK Space Agency opening their first permanent Scottish office in Edinburgh and look forward to working closely together as this exciting sector continues to grow.”

Andrew Griffith MP, minister for space at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, said: “Harwell’s Space Cluster is already a hub of collaboration with more than 100 thriving research organisations and 1,400 jobs making it the ideal location for the UK Space Agency’s new headquarters. 

“At the same time our space sector has grown considerably across all parts of the UK and new offices in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Leicester will serve the talented space researchers and innovators around the country while creating more jobs, growing our local economies and strengthening the UK’s science superpower ambitions.”