Scotland publishes space sustainability roadmap

Scotland’s space sector has published a new sustainable space roadmap, underscoring its commitment to reducing its impact on the environment.

The roadmap, believed to be the first of its kind, sets out the steps needed to achieve the long-term goals of Scottish space missions: space debris neutral; zero emissions created from on-the-ground activities; and for Scotland to gain global recognition as a leader in sustainable space.

Its contents were informed by national and international expert interviews, in-depth study into other sustainability initiatives and consultation with the space industry. The roadmap addresses areas such as the environmental impacts of building, fuelling, and launching satellites, as well as the importance of promoting satellite data for environmental monitoring.

Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “The Scottish Government recognises the key role of space in the global fight against climate change. The Scottish space sector shares this collective responsibility and is already innovating through the use of greener fuels, lightweight materials, smart design and reusability. The Scottish Space Sustainability Roadmap is the next step in helping the sector reach net zero by 2045 and in setting an example for other nations.

“These are exactly the kind of actions necessary to help boost productivity, create sustainable jobs and position Scotland in the vanguard of responsible users of space across every part of the industry.”

Developed in collaboration with Space Scotland’s Environmental Task Force and funded by Scottish Enterprise, the roadmap was produced by space strategy firm AstroAgency in partnership with Glasgow-based innovation and strategy consultants Optimat.

Kristina Tamane, space sector business development lead at University of Edinburgh and Environmental Task Force co-Chair, said: “The work behind this roadmap is unique because it is centred on action and leading the way globally in terms of sustainability of the whole space sector.

“Key colleagues across the UK, enabled by the Environmental Task Force, will proactively and consistently build a space sector that is sustainability-focussed by design – working collaboratively and internationally to achieve this ambitious goal. This is a truly historic document which I am positive will lead to an environmentally conscious space sector development, led by Scotland.”

As one of the early actions identified in the roadmap, Scottish Enterprise, together with partners Scottish Government and The Data Lab, has launched a £300,000 innovation challenge to fund innovative solutions using space data to aid Scotland’s transition to net zero. Successful applications will secure funding of between £20,000 and £30,000 with the fund closing for applications on 26 September 2022.

Scotland's ambitious space sector is identified by the Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies as a key opportunity for future economic growth. The Scottish Space Strategy, published last October, aims to create 20,000 jobs and secure a £4bn share of the global space market.

The Roadmap is available at

Image: AstroAgency