Space experts unite to celebrate Ayrshire cluster opportunities

A sold-out conference saw a number of Scotland’s space industry experts present the benefits of the burgeoning space cluster in Prestwick to an audience of more than 110 delegates.

The Beyond Launch event in association with Barclays Eagle Labs, which took place at the HALO Enterprise and Innovation Hub in Kilmarnock, showcased the opportunities that adding space supply chain activity to an already established aerospace cluster will bring to Ayrshire and the local economy, including the creation of thousands of new jobs.

A number of experts in the field took to the stage throughout the morning following a keynote speech from Professor David Alexander OBE, a renowned Houston-based astrophysicist and Director of the Rice Space Institute.

Programme Director of Prestwick Spaceport, Mick O’Connor, said: “The development of the space cluster at Prestwick with the spaceport as the flagship further advances the UK’s space industry, which is now one of the country’s fastest growing sectors.

“It is great to see the space community uniting behind the programme and sharing ambitions for Ayrshire and Scotland.

“A huge part of the Beyond Launch event was about engaging and enthusing the audience, as well as bringing together supply chain partners from across Scotland to share their knowledge of the space industry and alerting them to potential business opportunities. We believe we have certainly fulfilled this objective and also hope we inspired a few people to consider a career in the space industry.”

Other speakers on the day included Prestwick Airport’s Commercial Director Zoe Kilpatrick, Director of Space Scotland and Founder of AstroAgency Daniel Smith, Space Scotland’s Cluster Manager Dr. Natasha Nicholson and South Ayrshire Council’s Aerospace Digital Visualisation Suite Applications Specialist, Brian Ronald and Aerospace Supply Chain Specialist, Gary Williamson.

The Prestwick Spaceport project has gained significant multi-million pound funding through the Ayrshire Growth Deal as part of the highly ambitious programme to create an unrivalled space supply-chain network, boosted by a location easily reached by road, rail, sea and air – and accessible to a vast talent pool.

Dr. Natasha Nicholson, Cluster Manager at Space Scotland stated, “The Beyond Launch event demonstrated that the space industry is open to everyone, and needs all kinds of skills and expertise. Having showcased the range of possibilities to local businesses and individuals outside of the space sector, it was great to see the interest from companies in supporting future space supply chain activity, including the first commercial rocket launch from the spaceport.”

Totalling more than £250m in investments by the Scottish Government, UK Government and East, North and South Ayrshire Councils, the Ayrshire Growth Deal aims to transform Ayrshire into a world-class business region for the aerospace and space, energy, marine, manufacturing and tourism industries.

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