Lara Zanoni on the Challenges of Space Debris

Building awareness of space debris is essential to normalising sustainable and ethical behaviours in space, argues Lara Zanoni. 

 

This article was published in Issue #1(31) 2022 of Room The Space Journal of Asgardia.

 

As the space industry develops new markets to meet the challenges of space debris, Lara Zanoni, Marketing Manager at AstroAgency, questions the behaviours at the root of this issue. 

 

Space debris was first theorised as a risk in the 1970’ by prominent NASA researcher, Donald J Kessler. This risk has now materialised and presents an institutional headache as well as a clear and present danger to rapidly expanding orbital infrastructure projects. Crystalised through the prism of now-mainstream climate change concern, these plans are coming under more widespread scrutiny for their eventual ecological fallout. 

 

But the very technical challenge of space debris finds its roots in a larger context, from an impotent legal framework and hazy international guidelines to practices unconcerned with long-term ethics.

 

As access to space becomes easier, Lara Zanoni suggests the path to sustainability will come from building awareness by tracking and cataloguing debris in a database and inviting humanities professionals to open the conversation on the issue.

 

Read Lara’s full opinion: Source

Space Tech Spotlight for Swiss and Scots

AstroAgency helps to open new business opportunities for Swiss and Scottish investors and innovators with new events series

 

This article was published on 22 May 2022 in The Scotsman

 

At the occasion of the Switzerland in the UK Tour, a dedicated series of events have been announced to explore avenues for collaboration between Switzerland and the UK in areas of respective technological and service strength.

 

In collaboration with Switzerland Global Enterprise and the University of Edinburgh, AstroAgency has helped to prepare the Edinburgh event, which will focus on the space sector.

 

The Scottish space sector is one of the fastest-growing in Europe and recently set its sights on a  £4 billion market share of the global economy in an ambitious space strategy laid out at Expo 2020.

 

Echoing, AstroAgency’s recently announced collaboration with AzurX, the event in Edinburgh will help build bridges between sector stakeholders and find opportunities for cooperation between the country’s ecosystems.

 

Read the full article: Source

Scotland Soaring to Space Success

This roundtable was published in May 2022 the SSPi Northeast Chapter.

 

Daniel Smith, Creative Director at AstroAgency gave his account of the growth in the Scottish space sector at a New York Space Business Roundtable organised by the Space & Satellite Professionals International (SSPI).

 

First issue of a three-part series, this roundtable invited guests from across the flourishing Scottish space industry to discuss how it was able to develop opportunities across the length of the sector’s value chain.

 

Daniel was joined by Dr. David Alexander, OBE, Director of the Rice Space Institute, Dr. Calum Forsyth, VC Investor at Techstart Ventures LLP and by Dr. Hina Khan, Sr. Project Manager and UK Stakeholder Engagement Lead at Spire Global, Inc.

 

Get up to speed on the developing financing opportunities in one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors by watching the full video, available here:

 

 

AzurX and AstroAgency to collaborate

AstroAgency and AzurX to open new business opportunities between the UK and UAE for the space sector

 

This article was published on 09 May 2022 in The National

 

AstroAgency will be working with AzurX, a Dubai-based space investment and advisory company to open and foster business development opportunities between the UAE and UK.

 

AzurX’s client portfolio, featuring such prestigious companies as Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, complements AstroAgency’s strong presence in the UK’s fast-growing space sector and space sustainability landscape.

 

Growing from their successful collaboration bringing representatives of the Scottish Government and space sector to Expo 2020, AstroAgency and AzurX’s agreement will support global leaders in space sustainability & insurance and open the UAE market to UK businesses.

 

This agreement has garnered high praise from high level players, including Scottish Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise Ivan McKee: “Six months on from the launch of Scotland’s space strategy at our Space Day at Expo 2020 Dubai and we are seeing tangible positive results coming to fruition.”

 

“It is great to see dynamic innovative Space sector strategy experts AstroAgency and AzurX coming together to bridge fast-growing commercial space activities between Scotland and the United Arab Emirates … international business partnerships such as this will become even more important to allow exchange of talent, ideas and business connections.”

 

Read the full article – Source

ROOM, Technology transfer and the ‘local’ space market

AstroAgency Creative Director , Daniel Smith explores cross-sector technology applications with Prof. David Alexander of Rice University.

 

This article was published in Issue #3(29) 2021 of Room The Space Journal of Asgardia.

 

Daniel and David Alexander, Professor of Astrophysics at Rice University in Houston contributed an important insight into the business opportunities promised by the continued accelerated growth of the space sector.

 

Spaceflight is a uniquely challenging endeavour, requiring technology to operate reliably in extreme environments. In this article, Daniel and David illustrate the tremendous benefits of translating technologies developed for specific industries into solutions for space-applications, and vice versa.

 

Shared technical challenges can be met by the same technology but are held back by traditional business thinking. Reaching beyond vertical thinking to achieve a holistic vision of technology infusion, will yield more and better opportunities across sectors.

 

Read the full article at ROOM, or download the PDF hereTechnology transfer and the ‘local’ space market

Exploring Realistic Space Sustainability

AstroAgency is working with Optimat in a framework set by the SSLC to deliver the first ever Space Sustainability Roadmap

 

This article was published on 24 February 2022 by The Scotsman

 

Breaking new ground for the industry, AstroAgency is collaborating with innovation and strategy consultants Optimat to deliver the space sector’s first formal sustainability roadmap.

 

Commissioned by Space Scotland’s Environmental Task Force and supported by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the roadmap will offer a comprehensive approach to achieving sustainability in and from space.

 

The roadmap will present  case studies and identify priority actions across the full breadth of the Scottish space sector – from government to academia and business.

 

Indeed, Scotland boasts major space sector capabilities and a full value chain offering. Adopting sustainable solutions across services, such as launch vehicles, and identifying opportunities to support sustainability in adjacent areas, like oceans and land preservation, will play a big part in reaching Net Zero.

 

AstroAgency’s founder and creative director, Daniel Smith, commented on the roadmap: “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”.

 

Read more: Source

AstroAgency Team: Richard Osborne

Get to know AstroAgency’s technical guru, Richard Osborne

 

This podcast episode was published on 21 February 2022 by Space in 60

 

Richard Osborne, AstroAgency’s Chief Technical Officer made an appearance on TerraMetric’s Space in 60 podcast to share his experience and journey through the space sector.

 

Space in 60 is a podcast specialising in bringing innovators and industry players from NewSpace to share insights and updates with an expert audience.

 

Listen to the full episode: Source

Space Clusters, a new day for UK Space

This podcast was released on 1 February 2022 by Satellite Application Catapult.

 

Daniel was featured in the In-Orbit fortnightly podcast, welcoming industry leaders in regular discussions to explore the ways in which space technology can be employed to make a better world. 

 

In this episode, Daniel was joined by Nafeesa Dajda, Head of Regional Growth at Satellite Applications Catapult and Gail Eastaugh and Programme Director at AeroSpace Cornwall in a conversation hosted by Sarah Cruddas.

 

The discussion celebrated and explored the flourishing UK space sector. Growing from a traditionally exclusive club with isolated and niche companies into a diverse and innovative network of interconnected space clusters in just 10 years, the UK space sector has achieved an impressive transformation. 

 

With room to grow, small and medium companies and academia are taking advantage of this new model to produce stunning new tech and applications with far-reaching implications. 

AstroAgency Founder, Daniel Smith, tunes in to In-Orbit to give an inside look at the new face of the UK’s Space Sector

Sustainable space at Korea Space Forum

This event was streamed online on 7 December 2021 by the Korean Space Forum 2021.

 

In a keynote speech titled “How to Approach Eco-friendly Space Development”, Daniel Smith shared his insight working with the UK and global space sectors on delivering sustainability-driven space development.

 

The Koreas Space Forum is an annual event highlighting key issues around the development of space activities & exploration in Korea. The event boasts a high-profile speaker line-up from the global space community, delving into trends from the international space industry.

 

Speaking on Day 2 of the event under the theme “Explore and Challenge”, Daniel presented the headway made by the Scottish Space Sector in baking sustainability directly into the development of its end-to-end value chain, turning it into an attractive selling point and involving the public, industry and academia in defining Space Sustainability.

 

Korea Space Forum 2021 keynote by AstroAgency founder, Daniel Smith, explores eco-friendly space development

November industry news

November was packed with updates from the space industry, with spectacular launches from SpaceX and RocketLab, the 20th anniversary of permanent human occupation of the ISS, and the launch of a new Moon mission.

 

November also marks a breakthrough month for AstroAgency, who have been awarded a development grant from the UK Space Agency to establish a space hub on behalf of the Scottish Space Leadership Council (SSLC).

 

Want to learn more? Read on for the need-to-know November news in spaceflight, space science, and the space industry.

SPACEFLIGHT

SpaceX Crew-1

The first fully operational flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft safely delivered four astronauts —three NASA and one JAXA— to the International Space Station. The new crewmembers will spend around 6 months in orbit before returning to Earth.

 

Vega Failure

The Vega flight VV17 carrying SEOSat-Ingenio and Taranis from the European Guiana Space Centre failed, resulting in the loss of both satellites. SEOSat-Ingenio would have been Spain’s first optical imagining satellite and TARANIS would have studied momentary phenomena which occur during thunderstorms. This is the second failure in the last three Vega launches, and was due to human error — specifically, incorrectly installed cables in an actuator control system.

 

20 years of humans on the ISS

The International Space Station reached 20 years of continuous human occupation on November 2nd, having hosted 239 astronauts from 19 countries since the first long-term crew, Expedition 1, arrived at the station in 2000.

 

Rocket Lab Return to Sender

Rocket Lab successfully completed the 16th mission of its Electron launch vehicle, deploying 30 small satellites to orbit. The company also recovered the first stage of the Electron for the first time — paving the way towards a reusable launcher.

INDUSTRY

Funding for UK space hubs

The UK government has awarded funding to establish 7 space hubs across the UK, which will draw together local authorities, expertise, and businesses to assess current space capabilities and develop plans to grow the UK’s £15 billion space industry.

AstroAgency, working on behalf of the Scottish Space Leadership Council, will establish the Scottish space hub — read more below!

 

OneWeb emerges from Chapter 11

The broadband satellite constellation company OneWeb has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy following final regulatory approval of its sale to a group of bidders including the UK government. The Indian conglomerate Bharti Global and the British government now each have a 42.2% stake in OneWeb, with other shareholders including SoftBank and Hughes Network Systems. OneWeb plans to launch their next batch of satellites as early as December.

 

Relativity Space raises $500 million

The US launcher company Relativity Space, known for their advances in 3D-printed rocket parts, raised $500 million in a series D funding round. The company plans to use additive manufacturing to revolutionize how launch vehicles are built and is now valued at $2.3 billion.

 

AAC Clyde Space awarded €9.9 million for space as a service

AAC Clyde Space, a CubeSat manufacturer based in Scotland and Sweden, has received UK Space Agency funding for a 3-year project named xSPANCION. The project aims to develop “space as a service” and foster the development of an innovative satellite constellation service, with 10 satellites to be manufactured in Glasgow.

 

ESA supports German launcher startups

The European Space agency has awarded €1.5 million to three German launcher startups: HyImpulse Technologies, Rocket Factory Augsburg, and Isar Aerospace. The funding, €500,000 for each company, will foster the development of European microsatellite launchers and was awarded under the ESA Boost! program.

SPACE SCIENCE

ESA approves Ariel mission

The European Space Agency approved construction of Ariel, the Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey mission. Ariel will be the first mission dedicated to measuring the chemical and thermal properties of exoplanets and is slated to be the third ESA exoplanet mission to launch in a ten-year period. The European space industry will soon be asked to make bids to supply components of the Ariel satellite.

 

Sentinel 6 launches

SpaceX launched the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Earth Observation satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base. This satellite is a collaboration between a host of organisations, including ESA, NASA, and the European Commission, and will provide accurate, long-term observations of sea-level rise.

 

Arecibo Radio Telescope Collapses

The iconic Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico has collapsed following successive failures in its supporting cables. The collapse, which occurred on December 1st, followed an announcement that the telescope would be decommissioned and dismantled by the US National Science Foundation. Two of the cables supporting the telescope’s moveable 820-tonne platform snapped in November, rendering the structure unsafe to use or repair. During its 57 years of operations, the Arecibo telescope made many scientific breakthroughs including the measurement of the rotation period of Mercury, the discovery of the first exoplanets, and the discovery of the first binary pulsar.

As well as contributing to space science, the radio telescope was used to send the famous Arecibo message in an attempt to communicate with potential extra-terrestrial life. It was also widely featured in popular culture, notably in the James Bond film GoldenEye.

 

Chang’e 5 Lands on Moon

The Chinese Chang’e 5 mission launched towards the moon, landing on December 1st. The mission aims to accomplish lunar sample return — a first for China. The lander segment of the mission landed near Mons Rümker in the Moon’s Ocean of Storms. The landing site contains some of the youngest geological formations on the Moon — only 1 billion years old, in contrast to the 3-billion-year-old rocks sampled during the Apollo missions. If all goes well, the samples will be launched from the lunar surface for a rendezvous and subsequent return to Earth.

 

Phosphine on Venus?

The heated scientific debate surrounding the recent detection of phosphine on Venus —and its interpretation as a biosignature— continued to evolve following problems with crucial data. Data from ALMA, one of the radio telescopes used to make the original discovery, contained a calibration error and was removed from a public archive by ALMA staff until it could be recalibrated.

This month, the original astronomical team behind the discovery of phosphine published an updated version of their paper, taking into account the recalibrated data. They confirm that they detected phosphine, but at a far lower level than reported in their initial paper.

ASTROAGENCY NEWS

AstroAgency, working on behalf of the Scottish Space Leadership Council (SSLC), has been awarded a development grant from the UK Space Agency to establish a space hub in Scotland and advance the SSLC into a formalised entity. The ultimate aim of the grant is to connect and promote Scotland’s fast-growing space economy, both nationally and internationally.

SPACE READING LIST

Looking for a deep dive into a space topic? Here are some longer reads suggested by the AstroAgency team.

·      Learn more about space debris, space situational awareness, and debris removal efforts in this article from ROOM.

·      Should we let science or industry pave the way towards other planets in the Solar System? This article highlights the need for a plan to avoid the adverse consequences of planetary exploration.

 

Interested in learning more? Follow AstroAgency’s Space Industry Updates here.

Digit - Scotland’s Space Journey with AstroAgency Founder Daniel Smith

Scotland is the leader in small rocket and satellite manufacturing, as well as harnessing data from space. Smith discusses the role Scotland is playing on the space stage.

 

As the world further extends its arms into the stars, the UK wants to be at the forefront of innovation, with Scotland playing a leading role. 

 

The UK Government recently launched a new Space Strategy that sets out plans to boost Britain’s space sector and position it as a global leader in this sphere. 

 

This includes the manufacturing of satellites, establishing rocket launch sites across the UK and the announcement in July of a new ‘Space Command’, aiming to protect the country’s interests and capabilities in space. 

 

Despite the great work being carried out across the country, and the technology already being made in Scotland – parts made here played a major role in the successful landing of the Perseverance Rover on Mars last year – many have no idea quite the impact this small nation is having.  

 

That is where Daniel Smith comes in. As founding director of space marketing firm AstroAgency, Smith focused on raising awareness of the benefits of access to space and helping further proliferate the Scottish space sector as part of the wider UK offering.  

 

In an interview with DIGIT, Smith discusses the past, present, and future of the space sector in Scotland, and how AstroAgency fits into the narrative.  

Scotland’s booming space sector  

Scotland has already established itself as a major contributor to the world of space innovation, particularly through its heritage in deep space missions and its growing role in the commercial ‘newspace’ movement.   

 

There are currently five launch sites being developed, including Prestwick Spaceport and Space Hub Sutherland, and, with two Europe-leading rocket manufacturers now based in the country, there is the potential for full ‘end-to-end’ space capability.  

 

Companies like Edinburgh-based Skyrora have been making waves, through projects such as the static fire of their vehicles, suborbital training launches, plus projects developing fuel from non-recyclable plastics and fighting the continuing problem of space junk. 

 

Additionally, Forres-headquartered Orbex secured around £18 million in December last year to accelerate new UK space projects, as well as their work on the “world’s most environmentally friendly rocket”.  

 

Meanwhile, companies like Spire Global ensure that more small satellites are built in Scotland than anywhere in Europe. And local space data firms like Global Surface Intelligence, Astrosat, Resilience Constellation, Omanos Analytics and Earth Blox are using machine learning, AI, and satellites to fight climate change, identify illegal mining and fishing, and provide a more effective response to natural disasters. 

 

Despite this, Smith says the Scottish space sector is not yet widely recognised as a significant contributor to space technology.   

 

“Put very simply, space has a marketing problem” Smith comments. From his time building ‘newspace’ startups across the UK, he was noticing innovative and exciting space tech projects appearing all over the country.  

 

“I thought, ‘why am I not seeing any of this innovation on the news? Why am I reading the same negative stories every day on mainstream media channels?’   

 

“There are some incredible things happening in a really exciting sector and yet so many people are completely unaware of how space access enhances our daily lives or can offer new insight for businesses or careers paths for young people, despite the fact it’s happening on our doorstep.”  

 

And it is difficult to see why this is the case, particularly with the UK and Scottish Government’s major investments in future space technology development.   

 

The UK Space Agency also announced that, after COP26, that it would be providing just under £7m in government funding to eleven organisations developing satellite projects to fight climate change.  

 

“When people think about space, they think about Cape Canaveral and astronauts, but it is trying to get across this message that Scotland’s focus is small payloads on small launch vehicles from small spaceports, and it’s about getting satellite data to help the environment and provide a range of insights that can support society and our daily lives.”   

What is on the horizon? 

Britain’s long-term vision, the UK Government says, is to establish itself as an attractive and innovative space economy on the world stage, securing 10% of the global market by 2030.  

 

The UK and Scotland have now released space strategies which aim to boost the sector across Britain and cement the UK as a newspace super-power. 

 

In September, plans for a National Space Strategy were announced aiming to “empower” British space firms to “innovate and grow” by unlocking private finance while helping the UK to become a leader in international space research.  

 

In October, the UK strategy was followed by Scotland’s first space sector strategy. Smith says the aim is to take a more formalised and organised approach to supporting the wider UK space proposition. 

 

In Scotland, Smith adds, the push into innovative space technologies was not a long-term plan from the start, it was something that we “sort of stumbled upon”. 

 

“The strategy is about asking stakeholders across all areas of the sector to help us turn that unplanned strength into a structured success and ensure that both technical and non-technical jobs are created – 20,000 being the aim – as well as helping businesses to move into the sector and give them a new revenue stream during a time where the economy really needs a boost.” 

 

Some of the most important aspects of the strategy, Smith comments, are “its focus on internal and external sectoral collaboration, as well as the importance of encouraging inclusivity and diversity in the sector, educational outreach and its emphasis on a particularly exciting opportunity for Scotland – building a space ecosystem with sustainability at its heart.”

 

He adds: “Northern Ireland and Wales also have their own space strategies, so it’s an exciting time and very much about mapping out our own journey to boost the wider UK offering.”  

 

Smith also notes that the Scottish Government is very supportive of the sector because they see the benefits and opportunities for the country that the sector brings – whether it be Scottish products being part of supply chains, different sectors benefiting from satellite data or selling our end-to-end offering around the world. 

 

“There are a whole host of supply chain opportunities that the Scottish Government realises can be filled locally to help boost our economy, but they also appreciate that satellite data can enhance businesses in pretty much any sector imaginable by providing information and insight that would be difficult or impossible to receive without access to space.  

 

“The recognition from government that this is a new industry that needs support but has the potential to bring huge benefits to all, is one of the reasons it made sense to write the strategy collaboratively, with input from government, its agencies and also with academia, who provide a backbone for everything the sector has achieved.” 

 

A standalone Scottish space strategy is also a boon for the country in other areas. Not least of all, it signals to others that Scotland is serious about space. This garners attention on the world stage, potentially attracting inward investment and partnerships.  

 

Smith also adds that a strong strategy can inspire the younger generation to become interested in a future space career, as it signals a long-term commitment to developing the industry. 

 

“Nothing inspires like space and there are young people preparing to attend our world-class universities who would love to be in the space sector – we all have a responsibility to ensure they realise it is now a genuine career path,” Smith says.  

 

“I think that’s really important because it helps ensure we have the engineers and scientists coming through that we didn’t have when I was starting out at Skyrora, for example, but it also can alert people to the opportunities in space law, insurance, logistics, construction and, of course, space marketing! And now we’re making sure that people know, they can take this path because Scotland is a space nation.” 

 

However, Smith does admit that, despite Scotland currently being in a strong position, the country cannot do everything alone. 

 

“It is vital that we do have partners across the UK, and even further afield across Europe, because we’ve got to collaborate with countries everywhere. Space is the ultimate global industry.” 

 

He continues: “But there are certain things that we do in Scotland that we quite simply do better than anywhere else in Europe. 

 

“It’s about making sure we are not all doing the same thing and that we are all able to combine our expertise in different areas, contributing to a greater whole that can better serve a sector that is only going to grow.” 

SPACE DEBRIS, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND EARTH OBSERVATION AT THE SPACE, SATELLITES, AND SUSTAINABILITY CONFERENCE IN GLASGOW

Space debris, climate change, and Earth observation at the Space, Satellites, and Sustainability conference in Glasgow.

SPACE DEBRIS, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND EARTH OBSERVATION AT THE SPACE, SATELLITES, AND SUSTAINABILITY CONFERENCE IN GLASGOW

Just one month before global leaders descend on Glasgow to discuss climate change at COP26, a group of researchers, engineers, and entrepreneurs gathered in Scotland to discuss the pressing challenge of sustainability in space. Tackling everything from space debris to monitoring climate change, the Space, Satellites, and Sustainability conference covered sustainability in space as well as how we can use satellite observations support sustainable development here on Earth. The attendees of the conference reflected this diversity of topics, with speakers from the private sector, academia, and space agencies, as well as Scotland’s home-grown space industry.

 

One of the major themes of the conference was that satellite observations can help us understand our impact on the planet. Speaking on the threat of climate change, Susanne Mecklenburg of the ESA Climate Office described how more than 14,000 scientific papers have led to the International Panel on Climate Change’s recent announcement that “it is unequivocal that humans influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land”. She also explained that weather satellites and other spacecraft constantly scrutinising Earth’s surface are vital components in our efforts to monitor the extent and impact of climate change; of the 54 Essential Climate Variables scientists use to understand our climate, 36 can benefit from space data and 21 are measured by ESA, the European Space Agency. The UK is using this data as part of a pilot scheme to use spacecraft to estimate the greenhouse gas emissions of the entire country.

 

Satellites observations also help with sustainability on smaller scales. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh described how satellite observations are helping farmers predict their harvests and measure the carbon footprint —or hoofprint— of their herds. Speakers also discussed the possibility of “death-star-like satellites” – orbiting spacecraft which use powerful —but harmless— lasers to measure tree heights across the entire world’s surface. Satellites can also help preserve Scotland’s wild places, with satellite images helping ecologists map habitats in the Highlands and measure the extent of native woodland on the west coast.

 

As well as discussing sustainability here on Earth, speakers also discussed how space itself can be made more sustainable. With increasing amounts of space debris and ever-more-crowded orbits making spaceflight challenging, figuring out how to operate spacecraft sustainably is an increasingly important area of research. Engineers from Cranfield University discussed how geostationary orbit —home to many communication and weather satellites— could be made more sustainable by recycling derelict satellites. Their ambitious proposal would see a scavenging spacecraft harvest solar panels and other usable components from dead satellites, then using them to repair functioning spacecraft. While this proposal may not get off the ground any time soon, it is a tantalising glimpse what the future of spaceflight may look like.

 

Researchers speaking at the conference also looked to an unlikely source of inspiration for dealing with space debris — nuclear decommissioning.  Though they may not have much in common at first glance, the challenge of taking apart a nuclear power plant shares some similarities with removing space debris. Both tasks involve daunting technical challenges, huge costs, high stakes, and a degree of uncertainty. The two fields even have some technical cross-ever, with specially designed radiation-resistant robots used both in nuclear power plants and in space.

 

The conference even had some discussion of economic sustainability — how Scottish space start-ups can stay in business in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Richard Tipper of Scottish space data start-up Ecometrica warned of the challenges to new companies in Scotland’s growing space economy, as well as offering advice on how to stand out from the crowd.

 

No matter the field or forum, sustainability is an increasingly important part of all activities on Earth. Space, Satellites, and Sustainability highlighted the ways in which space observations help us take the pulse of the planet and make sustainable decisions, as well as shining light on the challenges of sustainably exploring and operating in space. From fledgling space data firms in Edinburgh to rocket manufacturers brewing green rocket fuel, companies and researchers across Scotland —and the world— are rising to these challenges.

 

Want to learn more about space sustainability? Check out the work of the Scottish Space Leadership Council.

 

Article written by Calum Turner, AstroAgency

The National UAE. Scotland plans rocket launch from UK's first space port next year

Scotland is on track to host the UK’s first space port, with its inaugural rocket launch scheduled for next year.

 

Small satellites would be carried into orbit from the Sutherland vertical launch site, aboard the Prime rocket being built by UK start-up company Orbex.

 

The announcement was made at Expo 2020 Dubai’s UK pavilion on Wednesday.

 

The space port in northern Scotland is on Sutherland’s Moine Peninsula and would be the first to start operations. But four additional ones — horizontal and vertical launch sites — are also in development in other parts of the country.

 

Launch sites from Scotland offer access to both polar and sun-synchronous orbits, which are ideal for Earth-observation satellites.

There are some important themes around sustainability. One of the launch providers uses fuel from un-recyclable plastic
Daniel Smith, AstroAgency

 

Daniel Smith, founder of AstroAgency and former co-chairman of the Scottish Space Leadership Council, told The National that Scotland’s first rocket launch is on schedule.

 

“We’ve not reached orbit from Scotland yet, but we plan to next year,” said Mr Smith, who was recently nominated for a Sir Arthur Clarke Award for his services to the UK space sector.

 

“We have many benefits when it comes to launch because of where we are based — you’re not flying over populated areas in Scotland.

 

“So, we’re very lucky in that respect, but it’s about, kind of, capitalising on that situation.”

 

Vertical launches are the kind most people are familiar with. Horizontal launches typically occur from an airport, allowing an aircraft to fly up to a launch location where the rocket will be released from underneath a wing. The rocket then ignites and lifts into space.

Three vertical launch sites are located at Sutherland, Western Isles and Shetland, while horizontal launch pads are in Machrihanish and Prestwick.

 

The efforts fall under Scotland’s new space strategy, which was launched officially on Wednesday at Expo 2020 Dubai’s UK pavilion.

 

It includes achieving a £4 billion share of the global space market and creating 20,000 jobs in the sector by 2030.

 

Scottish space industry delegates and speakers outside the UK pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, where they launched Scotland’s new space strategy. Photo: Scottish Development International.

 

The goal is to launch 2,000 small satellites by then to improve science research, telecommunications and internet connectivity in Scotland.

 

“This was a strategy that’s been written by government, industry and academia all together.

“We’ve almost been writing it informally over the last few years and now it’s a chance to put it down on paper and signal our intentions,” Mr Smith said.

 

A key focus of the strategy is to make the space sector as sustainable as possible. One of the space ports is said to be the world’s greenest launch site.

 

“There are some important themes around sustainability. One of the launch providers uses fuel from un-recyclable plastic,” Mr Smith said.

 

“Another launch vehicle is using a bio propellant.

 

“We already have all the benefits from space data that are helping with environment and sustainability.

“We have companies that are tracking climate change and ones that are that are tracking illegal mining, fishing activity and coastal erosion.”

 

The space ports are expected to attract launch companies looking to place small satellites in orbit, particularly Earth-observation satellites.

 

There is a huge market for data collected by Earth-observation satellites and is currently valued at $1.6 billion, but is expected to reach $4.5 billion by 2026.

 

“It’s a massive growing market. There are so many uses for space data and such strong demand for satellites to be launched. That’s what we’re really able to offer.”

 

Scotland’s space sector is mostly being driven by start-ups, small and medium-sized companies.

Space businesses have increased by more than 65 per cent since 2016, with the sector proportionately employing more than twice as many people in Scotland as the rest of the UK.

 

“We don’t really have a big space [companies] in Scotland. It’s mostly small and medium sized companies,” Mr Smith said.

 

“In all, we’ve got fast growing ecosystem and lots of new start-ups.”

AstroAgency's guide to website audits

One of the first things we do for clients here at AstroAgency is to get to know our new client’s online presence through a detailed website audit. We think it’s one of the most important ways to keep track of a company’s online image, and in this post we’ll explain what a website audit is and why you should be doing one regularly.

 

To help you get started we’ve also included a 4-step website audit guide which takes you through the basics.

What is a website audit?

A website audit is a detailed look at the design, performance, and visibility of a website. A good audit will check if a website is well-designed, engaging, secure, and user-friendly.

 

A website audit also includes making an in-depth analysis to identify problems, weak points, and areas for improvement. Are visitors leaving your site after just a few clicks? Or is a bad web design alienating your customers? A website audit lets you find these problems and help you improve your web performance.

Why does your website need an audit?

Now that you know what a website audit is, why should you do it? You may think that your website is top-notch, but even the best-designed website can have hidden problems, and new issues crop up as you add content, move pages, or grow your online presence. A regular website audit will help you catch problems, keeping your website engaging and your web visitors happy.

Simple Website Audit Guide

So, now that you know why your website needs an audit, how do you make it happen? Here are four simple steps to get started.

Step 1: Check your web design

First impressions count, and web visitors make up their minds quickly — a 2006 study found that web designers will decide whether they like your site in about 50 milliseconds. And this split-second decision has consequences — 75% of consumers judge a company’s credibility based on its website design.

 

So, beyond making your website visually appealing, what can you do to improve your web design?

 

  • Make your website readable — break up dense blocks of text with subheadings and lists, choose a legible font, and make sure text is large enough to read.
  • Keep it simple — text should be easy and intuitive to read, with nothing that can mislead or confuse visitors.
  • Include a clear call to action — your webpage should prompt visitors to do something, whether it’s buying a product, booking a consultation, or getting in contact.

Step 2: Make sure your site is user-friendly

User experience can make or break a website, with 88% of consumers unlikely to return after a bad online experience. Once you’ve checked your web design, take some time to find out how visitors interact with your website.

 

  • Check if your website is mobile-friendly — designing a webpage to be compatible with a variety of devices is known as ‘responsive design’, and with more than 50 % of web traffic occurring on mobile devices, it’s crucial to have a mobile friendly website.
  • Navigation — your website should be easy to navigate, with the most important pages prominent and easy to reach. Make sure you also have a clearly signposted contact page for visitors to get in touch.
  • Content — make sure that your website content is simple enough for visitors to understand. Not everyone is a rocket scientist!

Step 3: Perform a technical check-up

With your website looking good and offering visitors a quality user experience, it’s time to take a look at the technical side.

 

  • Check if your site is secure — is data transfer to and from your website encrypted? If not, you should obtain an SSL certificate and use HTTPs for your site. As well as preventing data from being intercepted, HTTPs helps websites rank higher in Google searches.
  • Check for broken links or missing links — missing pages or broken links can make your webpage look outdated or badly maintained. Even if your visitors do get lost on your website, make sure they stay engaged with a customised 404 error page.
  • Check your website speed — how fast does your website load? Google found that 53% of mobile visitors leave a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load, and faster pages rank higher in search results.

Step 4: Test, test, and test again

Is your website striking, intuitive, and up to spec? Great! Now it’s time to start testing it.

 

  • Don’t test your own website — after spending time developing a website you start to lose perspective. Ask colleagues or a select group of customers to test your website and look for bugs.
  • Test often — ongoing tests help identify issues as they arise, and keep your website performing well.
  • Perform regular website audits — websites constantly evolve as new content is added and your business grows. Regular website audits will help keep your website at peak performance.

 

If you follow these four steps, then you’ll have made your website more engaging, easier to navigate, and more useful to your customers.

For a more in-depth website audit that focuses on both the content and technical side of your website, then get in touch with AstroAgency — our digital marketing team will go through all the steps above, as well as covering social media, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and investigating how users interact and navigate within your website.

 

Contact AstroAgency to arrange a website audit.

ROOM. Technology transfer and the ‘local’ space market.

The recent suborbital space tourism launches carrying Sir Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos as passengers on their respective space vehicles, together with the continued success of Elon Musk, have prompted a global commentary on the ‘billionaire space race’, but space innovation also operates at a local level. In this article the authors consider the importance of the interplay between space technologies and applications and their terrestrial counterparts.

 

The endeavours of companies such as Blue Origin, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic symbolise the increasing growth of the commercial space sector, an industry segment that is opening its previously inaccessible marketplace to entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world. Non-traditional actors are contributing to a rapidly growing sector encompassing everything from suborbital space tourism to commercial space stations and even lunar landers. Key to this is the increasing number of companies from small and emerging space nations in the realm of small satellite manufacturing, launch and service provision.

 

To meet the demand for this broadening space activity, whether it be powering robotic miners on the Moon or monitoring peat bogs in the Highlands of Scotland, the sector needs to innovate, translate and implement a wide range of technologies, many of which are currently being developed for other purposes. Many of the technical challenges faced by space operations have terrestrial counterparts, or at least have enough in common that a solution may already exist or be one small step away from direct application.

UK spaceports form historic alliance

A new space sector initiative was agreed this week between Scotland’s Spaceport sites.

 

The Scottish Space Leadership Council has announced the formation of the Spaceports Alliance, a sectoral Working Group which aims to represent the common interests of the UK Spaceport community, to facilitate rapid progress in developing the national infrastructure for, and international promotion of, the country’s space launch capabilities.

 

A concordat has been signed by three vertical rocket launch sites – Shetland Space Centre Space Hub Sutherland, and Spaceport 1, Western Isles – along with two that plan to operate plane based, horizontal launches – Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport, and Machrihanish Airbase Community Company, Argyll. Whilst the Alliance currently comprises the Scottish Spaceport sites, dialogue with Spaceport Cornwall is at an advanced stage and the Alliance is keen to include Wales’s Spaceport community as well, to adopt and promote a collaborative UK approach to the development and provision of launch services to the international space market.

It is believed that the group could play a pivotal role in the UK’s move towards orbital launch capability, a key catalyst for driving economic growth in the market. The UK launch sector is key to enabling the burgeoning small satellite industry where Scotland is a market leader, as well as providing the catalyst for growth in other space business areas such as Low Gravity Manufacturing, Orbital Energy Harvesting and Space Tourism.

 

The Alliance will develop a joint position for discussions with Government agencies to facilitate progress on key issues such as regulation and governance, insurance and international collaborations.

 

The Spaceport Alliance is also collaborating to develop a brand to send a common message to the World that Scotland and the UK are open for Space business and poised to lead the way in Europe, through a fully integrated Commercial Space capability from Satellite design and manufacture to Launch, platforms, facilities and management to data and information services. The Alliance seeks to promote and champion the importance of the sector’s green credentials, to highlight alignment and compliance with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Scottish Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation Ivan McKee commented:

 

“I am delighted that the spaceports across Scotland have come together under the banner of the Scottish Space Leadership Council to form the Spaceport Alliance in what is an extremely exciting time for the emerging space sector globally.

 

“Our ambition is to capture the substantial economic benefits of the emerging global space sector by ensuring Scotland becomes the first country in Europe to provide an end-to-end solution for small satellite manufacture, launch and innovation in satellite data analysis, including critical earth observation and environmental data.

 

“The space sector in Scotland also has a key role to play in tackling climate change. Having the ability to launch satellites here in Scotland will enable the expansion and enhancement of earth observation and environmental data giving Scotland a real and meaningful contribution to efforts to tackle the climate emergency and enhance the Green Recovery as set out in our Programme for Government.”

 

A recent set of range focused cross-industry workshops provided a practical platform to demonstrate the effectiveness of collaboration in this area at a crucial time for the launch sector, with secondary legislation around spaceflight currently going through a process of consultation as part of the Space Industry Act 2018. The workshops brought together industry and academia from across the UK and have resulted in a series of workstreams aimed at delivering key sectoral themes and observations in response to government consultation around the legislation and a common approach to ensuring the safety of UK launch services.

 

With the UK Space Agency determined to capitalise on the UK’s geographical advantage in respect of its ability to provide small satellite launch to popular, low-earth orbits that are important for monitoring environmental change, the establishment of UK National launch capability is an important element in enabling the country’s rapidly emerging commercial space sector to reach its potential. Affordable, responsive access to orbit is a common issue for the rapidly growing European space market.

 

Ian Annett, Deputy CEO for Project Delivery at the UK Space Agency, stated:

 

“The UK Space Agency and the new Spaceports Alliance are working in lockstep towards a common goal – make the UK the leading destination for space launch in Europe.”

 

“We want each spaceport to provide a range of services that complements those available at other spaceport sites; meeting the myriad demands from companies for satellite launches and sub-orbital flights. Spaceports Alliance will help us realise this ambition and build on our space sector’s proud history of collaboration”, Annett added.

 

The UK has seen its status as a space nation evolve significantly in recent years. The country already produces more small satellites than anywhere in the world outside of the USA through firms like Surrey Satellites (SSTL), Spire Global and AAC Clyde Space, whilst also being home to a vibrant space data environment through the University of Edinburgh and companies such as Global Surface Intelligence, Ecometrica, Astrosat, Goonhilly and 4EarthIntelligence. Moreover, with local launch developers making progress with sustainable propellants, a diverse knowledge base being fostered in its world class universities and the Scottish Space Leadership Council acting to provide UK industry co-ordination and support for a wide range of opportunities and challenges, the country is positioning itself at the forefront of the highly lucrative commercial space market.

 

John Innes, Chair of the Scottish Space Leadership Council said,

 

“the formation of the Spaceport Alliance is a major step forward in the development of a common, collaborative sectoral approach to the development of the UK Space Sector. SSLC has been advocating a collegiate sectoral approach to addressing the broad range of common issues which the sector as a whole needs to solve to enable everyone to grow and secure the significant economic opportunities space can offer to UK industry. SSLC is delighted to sponsor and chair this initiative.”

 

The international race to build launch capability ahead of other global competitors is very much underway. The spaceports alliance is expected to facilitate an inclusive, collaborative approach in order to navigate the sector through the challenges and opportunities posed by the prospect of UK launch. The next official meeting of the new alliance is due to take place during September.

How green is Scotland's space industry?

Scotland’s space industry says it wants to operate in an environmentally-friendly way.

 

But with plans lodged for several space ports, bringing the prospect of more regular launches, can blasting rockets into space ever be green?

How important is Scotland's space industry?

The industry is a thriving one, according to Daniel Smith of the Scottish Space Leadership Council and founder of space marketing company, AstroAgency.

 

“Glasgow makes more satellites than anywhere else in the world outside of California, and there are five space ports planned for Scotland,” he says.

 

Those proposed locations are Unst in Shetland; North Uist in the Western Isles; Machrihanish in Argyll; the Moine peninsula in Sutherland and Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire – where it has been proposed to launch human space flights by 2035.

 

Some of the sites – potentially Space Hub Sutherland in the north west Highlands, Spaceport 1 in North Uist and SaxaVord Spaceport in Unst – could be launching small, micro and pocket-sized nano satellites into space on a regular basis from next year.

 

One of the companies involved in Space Hub Sutherland, rockets manufacturer Orbex, has set up its UK headquarters in Forres in Moray.

 

Several landmark launches and rocket tests have already taken place in Scotland, where rocket launches have taken place since the 1930s.

 

In 2016, a rocket fired from the Hebrides Rocket Range, a military missile test site in the Western Isles, became the first vehicle to be launched into space from UK soil.

 

Three years later, a balloon designed for delivering small satellites into orbit was tested from SaxaVord Spaceport.

 

The launch – described as the UK’s first commercial spaceflight-related activity – saw the balloon soar 37km (23 miles) to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere.

 

Last year saw the UK’s first complete ground rocket test to be carried out in 50 years.

The 11m (36ft) tall Skylark-L rocket was tested at Kildermorie Estate, near Alness in the Highlands, by Edinburgh-based space technologies firm Skyrora.

 

The rocket performed all the actions of a launch while restrained to the ground to prevent it from taking off.

 

And last month, a “flight test vehicle” called ADA was launched by East Anglian firm Gravitilab Aerospace Services from Benbecula Airport as part of work to open Spaceport 1 at Scolpaig, North Uist, in 2022.

 

Backers of these projects include Western Isles local authority Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, public agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Melness Crofters’ Estate.

 

The estate’s chairwoman Dorothy Pritchard expects a spaceport in Sutherland to create much-needed skilled jobs for young people in the Highlands.

 

She says the proposal is to create the world’s first working croft land and carbon-neutral space hub – and that the priority has always been that “the close-knit crofting community, its stunning landscape, and native wildlife are protected”.

What are the environmental challenges?

While Scotland will never see big Nasa-style rocket launches, even small-scale operations involving rockets only a few metres long can still pose environmental challenges.

The key issues are fuel and what do to about spent rockets and redundant satellites.

Rocket fuels can include potentially harmful and corrosive materials such as hydrazine, hydrogen peroxide or nuclear materials.

Rocket engines can also produce large amounts of sulphur, along with greenhouse gases and leave soot in the atmosphere.

“Space debris is probably the most topical problem,” says Daniel Smith.

The debris – also known as space junk – includes hundreds of millions of pieces of broken satellites and fragments of rockets whizzing around in Earth’s orbit at speeds of up to 17,500 mph (28,163 km/h).

This creates the risk of collisions with working satellites – as well as the International Space Station, and the astronauts that crew it.

What is the industry doing?

The Scottish Space Leadership Council, through its Sustainable Space Task Force, has brought together Scottish manufacturers, data firms and others in a campaign to make getting to space less damaging to the planet.

The industry has been asked to solve challenges which include finding a way of measuring the “true impact” of the international space sector on the environment.

 

Scotland’s first sustainable space summit was held in June, and featured a message from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

 

The campaign has also asked public body NatureScot and environmental group Friends of the Earth Scotland about what changes they want to see.

 

Daniel Smith says involving potential critics of the space industry makes the campaign unique.

 

He says the industry wants to play a part in tackling climate change, adding: “It’s the right thing to do.”

 

Individual companies say they are trying to make a difference.

 

Orbex says its rockets are designed to be reusable and will use bio-propane, which the company describes as a “completely renewable biofuel”.

 

It says the fuel has 90% less CO2 emissions than kerosene-based rocket fuels, and leaves no soot in the atmosphere.

 

Orbex also says construction and operation of its launch site – Space Hub Sutherland – will be carbon neutral and that peat lifted during the building work will be laid over “scars” left by the harvesting of peat in the local area.

 

Skyrora has been carrying out tests using Ecosene, a fuel made from waste plastic.

 

The Scottish company is developing its own method to make the fuel from non-recyclable, or least recycled, plastics such as polystyrene and types of plastics used in making polytunnel sheets and toys.

 

Skyrora said emissions tests had shown the fuel resulted in a vast reduction in sulphur and greenhouse gases.

 

Daniel Smith says Scotland’s space industry has also sought to help address the problem of space junk.

 

“Smaller satellites reduce the chance of collisions,” he says. “There is also work being done to make satellites burn up when they are no longer needed.”

 

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, says conservation and environmental groups rely on satellite data for their work, but they also want to see the industry operate in a sustainable way.

 

He says: “From measuring shrinking forests to telling us who is most affected by climate change, the space industry makes a great contribution in highlighting environmental threats to our natural systems.

 

“Of course there is a cost to getting this data and the industry needs to look at the propellants it uses, the distances its many components travel and even the tourist traffic launches generate.

 

“The satellite and launch industry is growing rapidly but there is a lively and welcome discussion about creating a environmental strategy for the space industry in Scotland to drive change and both minimise environmental impact and maximise the value of data from space to the environment.”

Is there opposition to space ports?

Yes, with strong criticism of those planned for the Highlands and North Uist.

 

The planning application for Space Hub Sutherland sparked 457 objections, many on environmental grounds, compared with 118 representations in support of the proposals.

 

It has also faced opposition from the Protect The Mhoine (PTM) pressure group, while billionaires Anders and Anne Holch Povlsen went to court to challenge the project.

 

The couple own land near the proposed site and have concerns about its impact on protected habitats.

 

Their company, Wildland Ltd, raised the legal action against Highland Council’s decision to give planning approval, arguing that it failed to take into account the risks to the local environment and wildlife.

 

But last month a judge said he was “not persuaded” that the local authority had erred in law, and rejected the legal challenge.

 

Meanwhile, the Povlsens have invested almost £1.5m in SaxaVord Spaceport.

 

The Shetland site is a former RAF station, while the one in Sutherland is undeveloped peatland. A spokesman for the Povlsens said the Unst project would still need to cross a “high environmental bar”.

 

The Western Isles’ Spaceport 1 has encountered opposition from the North Uist Conservation Group.

 

The campaigners said the land would be lost to concrete structures and raised concerns about the potential impact on St Kilda, a Unseco World Heritage site.

 

St Kilda lies about 40 miles (64km) west of North Uist, the nearest inhabited place to the archipelago.

The Edinburgh Reporter — Marketing Agency Recognised for Out of this World Contributions

A UK firm which has established itself as a global leader in strategic marketing for space companies has been nominated for a number of prestigious awards for its work connecting and promoting those within the fast-growing sector.

 

Despite only being two years established, AstroAgency ranked amongst 10 of the country’s best small and medium-sized enterprises for 2021 after being nominated for Digital SME of the Year at the UK Digital Leaders 100 Awards.

 

Founder and Creative Director, Daniel Smith, was nominated for Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2021 Great British Entrepreneur of the Year Award, while Marketing Manager Lara Zanoni has been nominated for NextGen’s Rising Star Award, an award that celebrates women in space.

 

Smith has helped drive the establishment of four space start-ups in the last four years and is an advisory board member for UK-wide student space group, UKSEDS, as well as being former Chairperson of Space Scotland, an industry-led group working in collaboration with both Scottish and UK governments and national universities to develop Scotland’s space sector in support of the overall UK space sector offering.

 

The UK government has made space a priority, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently providing the foreward to the UK Space Strategy.

 

Smith believes the nominations are testament to the firm’s unique offering and his team’s passion for working towards a sustainable, diverse and inclusive global space sector, with AstroAgency’s 23 strong team boasting a varied range of expertise from space technology, rocket science and satellite data analysis to business development, digital marketing, public relations and corporate communications.

 

Daniel said: “What sets AstroAgency apart is the diversity of our team and the technical understanding we can bring to our clients to help them enter, grow and succeed in the fast-growing commercial space sector.

 

The vast majority of our team have previous experience in space organisations large and small and have detailed knowledge of the sector – which, when combined with our passion for business development and marketing, makes us a good fit for many space firms. Even our interns are building satellites or launch vehicles at university!

 

“Being nominated for these awards is a nod to the hard work the team have put in over the last two years, starting up at the beginning of a global pandemic with a unique idea that hadn’t been done before, and we could not be more humbled to have that effort recognised.”

Lara Zanoni and Daniel Smith

The Digital Leaders 100 list is curated by public vote and awards teams and individuals for their work within the UK’s digital transformation sector while the Great British Entrepreneur celebrates the best entrepreneurs from around the UK.

 

AstroAgency Marketing Manager Lara Zanoni was recently nominated for NextGen’s Rising Star Award – hosted by the world’s oldest existing space advocacy organisation, the British Interplanetary Society.

 

Lara said: “In the past, the space sector has been a predominately male dominated industry so it is brilliant to see women coming up the ranks throughout the space sector.

 

”I’m very proud to have been nominated for such a prestigious award that celebrates women in the industry, and to work for such a diverse company – in fact, AstroAgency has more women than men, which is unusual for the space sector.”

 

The recent award nominations come in addition to the firm’s nominations for two Sir Arthur Clarke Awards earlier in the year – receiving commendations in the Education and Outreach Team category and the Industry/Project Individual category, where Smith was recognised for his efforts to promote sustainability and a more diverse space sector.

 

The Sir Arthur Clarke Awards, better known as ‘The Arthurs’, have been presented since 2005 and recognise individuals and teams who have made notable or outstanding achievements or contributions to the space sector.

 

AstroAgency, which was founded in 2019, have not only survived the economic struggles of the pandemic but have had many successes within the space sector.

 

The firm creates and amplifies messaging from private and public sector organisations operating in space or looking to move into the sector, with a unique combination of strategic marketing support, brand building techniques, space media coverage, detailed technical knowledge and all-important market intelligence.

 

AstroAgency is helping businesses – that may not perceive themselves as space firms – to realise their potential and offerings in one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors.

 

The agency is on the hunt for organisations which have transferrable technology, skills or experience that can be utilised within the space supply chain and currently looking to hire three new team members for marketing roles.

 

Headquartered in Edinburgh, AstroAgency’s rapid growth and diverse remote team is based in key strategic locations, including London, Milan and Paris.

AstroAgency receive third award nomination of the summer!

Following the announcement that AstroAgency had been named as finalists in two categories for the prestigious Sir Arthur Clarke awards ceremony in Westminster from one of the world’s oldest space organisations, the British Interplanetary Society (in conjunction with the Arthur C Clarke Foundation), AstroAgency have now been shortlisted for a Great British Entrepreneur Award from close to 5,000 entries.

 

Following the announcement that AstroAgency had been named as finalists in two categories for the prestigious Sir Arthur Clarke awards ceremony in Westminster from one of the world’s oldest space organisations, the British Interplanetary Society (in conjunction with the Arthur C Clarke Foundation), AstroAgency have now been shortlisted for a Great British Entrepreneur Award from close to 5,000 entries.The Great British Entrepreneur Awards is a platform supported by business and government that celebrates and champions the entrepreneurs behind “brilliant businesses”, according to its website. AstroAgency’s Founder, Daniel Smith, has been named as finalist in the Small Business of the Year category.

 

The news comes shortly after AstroAgency’s Founder was named as runner up in the ‘Space Achievement – Individual’ category in a record year for nominations at the space awards, losing out to the UK Space Agency’s Dr. Alice Bunn, who had worked closely with Ministers to secure a £1.7 billion UK investment in the European Space Agency.

 

AstroAgency’s SpaceBar initiative with Dallas Campbell and Suzie Imber had also been nominated in the ‘Education and Outreach Team’ category from close to 200 nominations, for their work to support the sector to network, share knowledge and inspire young people during lockdown.

 

AstroAgency’s Head of Operations, Daria Filichkina, stated, “To be recognised across three awards and named as finalists from many thousands of entries is a huge honour for our growing team. The Sir Arthur Clarke nominations further demonstrate our dedication to the space sector and the Great British Entrepreneur award shows that our work is being noticed across general business sectors, too. It’s all very exciting for such a young company and we’re grateful to everyone who nominated us!”

AstroAgency shortlisted for two Sir Arthur Clarke Awards

Strategic space marketing firm AstroAgency has been nominated for two awards from the British Interplanetary Society (BIS). The company’s virtual fortnightly networking event, SpaceBar, has been nominated for the Sir Arthur Clarke Education and Outreach Team Achievement Award, which recognises teams that have fostered informative, educational and inspiring online engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s Founder and Creative Director, Daniel Smith, is also nominated for the individual space industry achievement award.

 

AstroAgency are one of three finalists selected for both awards, which will be presented by the world’s longest established organisation dedicated to the promotion of space exploration and astronautics. Established in 1933, the British Interplanetary Society aims to increase public and stakeholder engagement with space, and since 2005 have presented the annual Sir Arthur Clarke awards to recognise outstanding achievements in space activities. The BIS, in conjunction with the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, invited nominations from the general public and a nominations panel of senior representatives from all areas of the space sector.  A total of 166 nominations for 82 nominees were received this year – a record for the ‘Arthurs’.

 

The SpaceBar, hosted by science broadcaster Dallas Campbell and Dr. Suzie Imber, was established by AstroAgency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to encourage informal networking and knowledge sharing among the world-wide space community. The sessions are held on video-conferencing platform Zoom, where participants are invited to engage with a wide range of topics — from Artificial Intelligence to space tourism — during interactive discussion panels moderated by space industry experts. Participants have included representatives from the European Space Agency, UK Space Agency, NASA and other international space agencies, as well as students looking for career placements, start-ups looking for investment and a number of special guests, including British astronaut Tim Peake.

 

AstroAgency’s founder Daniel Smith, who has played a key role in establishing four space companies in four years and is also the Co-Chair of the Scottish Space Leadership Council, is nominated for an individual Sir Arthur Clarke award in appreciation of his enthusiasm for supporting the growing UK space sector, and his efforts to encourage the development of a more environmentally conscious, diverse industry. Smith stated,

 

“There’s no doubt that the last 18 months have been a challenging time to set up and grow any business, so to be finalists in two categories is a testament to our team’s focus on supporting companies across the globe to find opportunities in this incredible sector. For this to be recognised at such a prestigious space industry event, along with our commitment to educational outreach and growing a more diverse and inclusive workforce, is special.”

 

This level of recognition comes at an already-exciting time for AstroAgency, which within less than two years of operation has already established itself as a global leader in strategic marketing for space companies and those looking to move into the fast-growing sector. The international team of 20, which includes experts both in marketing and space technology, have secured 23 worldwide commercial and government space clients — the latest being German-based company ConstellR, backed by leading SpaceTech investors Seraphim and OHB, who use space data and revolutionary technology to monitor Earth’s land surface temperature.

 

Headquartered in Scotland, AstroAgency provides specialised and strategic marketing support to worldwide companies representing the space sector’s whole value chain — from spaceports, payload manufacturers, supply chain companies and government bodies to the downstream data firms using space data to benefit the environment, economy and wider society.

 

The BIS awards will be presented at the 2021 Reinventing Space Conference Gala Dinner in London, on Tuesday 29th June.

Acting for Sustainable Space

AstroAgency and SSLC champion a sustainable and democratic space sector with Scottish leadership and communities

 

This webinar was held on 23 June 2021 by the Scottish Space Leadership Council

 

As part of the Environmental Task Force assembled by Space Scotland, AstroAgency works closely with Scottish academia, government and business spheres to foster new visions and interest for its rapidly growing space sector.

 

Co-chaired by the University of Edinburgh’s Kristina Tamane and none other than AstroAgency’s founder and creative director, Daniel Smith, the Task Force successfully conducted the “Space Sustainability Challenges” in early 2021.

 

The campaign invited environmental groups, schools, academia, government and the general public to submit environmentally-focused challenges to volunteers from the space sector. Three challenges were chosen to be studied by the volunteers in a series of collaborative workshops to more accurately appraise the sector’s carbon footprint.

 

The results of these working groups were presented on 23 June 2021 to a judging panel during a webinar introduced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and hosted by science broadcaster Dallas Campbell and Dr. Suzie Imber to an online audience exceeding 400 live viewers.

 

Watch the full video:

 

The Role of Space Technology Transfer in a Post COVID-19 Era

Words like bounce-back, rebuild, pivot, restart are being used in articles, webinars and conversation in today’s day-to-day business. Some reports predict the economy is on a slow rebuild post COVID 19, others of a delayed bounce-back as headlines warn us of the worst recession in our lifetime. In the space industry, discussions with industry professionals are highlighting a more optimistic view, referring to nearer-term bounce-back opportunities. The question remains – what does this really mean? What does it mean to the survival of space companies in the short-term, their ability to adapt to a new normal in the medium term and their resilience against future disruptions in the long-term?

 

This article considers technology transfer as a way to build a diversified portfolio, embedding resilience and enabling growth in a post COVID-19 space sector. Building on recent industry discussions including feedback as a guest speaker at the AstroAgency hosted Technology Transfer webinar.  At the end of the article there is a link to a short 1-minute survey to allow us to gather further intelligence and better understand technology transfer activity in the space industry.  We will publish our findings from this survey, providing a snapshot of the current environment and future opportunities or challenges to inform industry and government.

What Bounce-Back Could Look Like

Confidence is the key word here. When confidence in the economy starts to return, so will investment and funding. However, to build confidence companies need to demonstrate their viability and growth. There are two possible approaches:

 

  • Existing: Companies focus on growing their market share and developing their existing products for that market.
  • New: Companies focus on entering new markets with existing offerings, taking their products or services into new applications with existing or new markets, they may even look to develop entirely new products.

 

Not all routes are right for every company, but all need to be considered as part of a strategic review. For those companies looking at the new approach, they should be looking at technology transfer.

Diversified Portfolio

In financial markets, a diversified investment portfolio is one that focusses on a mix of assets to realise the highest return for the least risk. Different assets (stocks, fixed income, commodities etc.) react differently to economic changes, which makes a diversified portfolio more resilient. Even colloquially, people speak about “not putting all their eggs in one basket”.

 

Why are technology companies often singularly focused on products for one market? This is in part linked to the maturity of the company. Start-ups are focused on delivering on their initial investment promises; while established technology companies in mass markets often already serve multiple sectors and applications. Therefore, this question is directed to revenue-generating post-seed, pre-listed, companies.

 

With what we’ve learnt from COVID-19, surely, is that there is a need to build resilience as well as growth potential into businesses earlier on? During a recent webinar, organised during the peak of lockdown by strategic space marketing firm AstroAgency, there was a panel on this subject that had participants excitedly using phrases such a “dual income” and “multiple routes to market”. The concept of finding multiple clients for technology that was developed primarily for space really resonated with that group.

Technology Transfer

Technology transfer is about diversifying your portfolio, spreading your risk, improving opportunities for success. It is about transferring your technology, skills and capability into new markets (industries and geographies) and new applications – often using new business models.

 

Space agencies, including NASA and ESA, have dedicated pro-active technology transfer programmes. However, technology transfer is often referred to as “spill-overs” in the commercial business-to-business context, implying a reactive, accidental, activity. Spill-over value to the public far exceeds the direct £3 to £4 return on every public £1 invested by space agencies in single-purpose technology development.[1].

 

There is no definitive measure of the economic value from space technology transfer, particularly given the intangible elements like skill and knowledge sharing. However, there are studies that indicate the size of the potential impact. For example, NASA estimate that they have generated $1.5bn added value through their life sciences technology transfer[2]. If this is the size of the opportunity created by one public organisation in a single sector, it raises the question – what value could be generated if the commercial space industry did more business-to-business technology transfer?

 

In 2018, MULTIPLY held a number of interviews with UK space companies to get their views on technology transfer. All participants recognized the value, citing revenue growth as a primary driver for them to proactively do technology transfer. Other reasons cited included:

 

  • Demonstrating scalability to raise investment
  • Accessing new geographic regions with new products, which then enables cross-sell back to their original product
  • Brings learnings back into their core offering
  • De-risking the business from disruption by removing reliance on only a few revenue streams
  • Demonstrating innovation and leadership, boosting company and employer brand, building pride amongst employees and improving retention

 

Despite this, a number of barriers (perceived and actual) were also cited:

  • Considered a distraction from core business
  • Do not have the bandwidth to put time into non-core activity
  • Do not have resources to invest into non-core activity
  • Don’t have in-house skills and experience
  • Don’t have access into other markets
  • Considered too early in their growth to diversify
  • Existing investors want them to focus on one core offering

 

At Multiply, we’ve considered technology transfer as a vehicle for resilience and growth for the post COVID-19 space sector, so what could this look like?

What if…?

What if taking a diversified portfolio approach was the new norm? I’d go so far as to say not “if” but “why aren’t we already doing so”? What if technology transfer was considered as core business? What if investors and governments looked at technology transfer value-add as a scored criterion in investment and funding decisions?

 

I am not suggesting this as a silver bullet, nor as the right solution for every company. MULTIPLY’s study in 2018 saw that technology transfer could pose a challenge for those early stage R&D companies that were not sufficiently resourced, securely funded, nor their technology yet proven in their core business. However, those [more established] companies with proven technology, typically with early adopters already buying their products, looking to move into high value or high-volume markets, were well placed to benefit from diversification.

 

An industry that is achieving revenue growth cross-sector, driving export and stimulating private investment, is one that is succeeding. An industry too dependent on public financing or limited customer channels is at risk. To realise sustainable commercial industries, you need to build sustainable commercial companies. With the reality of our vulnerabilities laid bare by COVID-19, resilience and growth need to be at the heart of every company’s strategy. Technology transfer, for many, has a core role to play.

Survey

We’ve considered technology transfer to build a diversified portfolio approach to the post COVID-19 space sector and what this could look like. Now we’d like to get your input to understand your current technology transfer activity and your future technology transfer intentions and appetite.

 

Please follow the link to a short 3 minute survey here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CCZK7TB. Your input will enable us to present a snapshot of the current environment and make recommendations for the future to both industry and government.

AUTHOR: Natasha Allden, Founder and CEO of MULTIPLY Global Ltd.

 

Natasha built her first company at 21 and went on to build an international track record leading commercial strategy design, marketing propositions, programmes, partnerships and proposition development with companies including EDF Energy, Ageas Insurance, the Bloodhound SSC Programme and Reaction Engines. In 2015 she launched MULTIPLY to help companies unleash their potential of technology to MULTIPLY value.

 

MULTIPLY works with advanced engineering companies, sepcialising in the space sector, to multiply value through business-to-business technology transfer programmes and ventures.

 

Established in 2015 MULTIPLY has developed opportunities in excess of £30m for their clients from public grants, private financing, technology transfer, new markets and collaborations. MULTIPLY defines, designs and delivers strategic propositions through end-to-end customer programmes for clients globally. www.multiply.space

 

[1] Source: https://www.ukspace.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Spillovers-in-the-space-sector_March2019.pdf

[2] Source: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1020207506064

Marketing Checklist From AstroAgency

What to do before starting an online project? A simplified version of a marketing checklist.

What to do before starting an online project?

  • Competitor analysis
  • Find out which platforms were used to create sites
  • Determine which ad channels competitors use
  • View search results
  • Analyse Facebook and Instagram pages
  • Analyse the Youtube channel

 

Project preparation

Website users are very demanding. They want everything to be simple, clear and pleasing to the eye. Therefore, you need to pay attention to usability, so that the user can quickly select everything that they need, so that they can complete their actions on the site without much difficulty.

It is worth conducting QA-testing of the website to determine the main errors and understand how critical they are. The client must correct them before launching the advertisement so as not to waste money.

It is also worth comparing the functionality of your site with competitors to see its advantages and disadvantages.

 

Connect web analytics

Before you start advertising, you need to connect Google Analytics to the website, set goals and connect ecommerce plugins and applications. We also recommend using convenient tools for data visualisation. They allow you to see in real time what is happening with the project and what is its effectiveness.

 

Decide on goals and KPIs

It is important to understand at what stage of development your project is. And at this stage it is worth setting goals and determining the KPIs to which you should strive.

List of Internet marketing tools during the initial phase

At this stage, it is important to test the most effective Internet marketing tools. To do this, you need to work with “warm traffic”. Required KPIs are:

  • ROI (return of investment)
  • CPA (cost per action)
  • Revenue
  • Number of transactions
  • Targeted traffic

 

Search advertising

Another tool that must be used from the launch of the site. When a user makes a request, paid search advertising can take up to the first four blocks in the search results. Due to the fact that it occupies as many as four blocks, many users simply do not reach the organic searches. They open the first two or three links and choose what interests them first of all. Only if they did not find anything suitable there, do they begin to scroll below this.

 

Paid search advertising takes up most of the first screen, and if Google Shopping is also located at the top of the search results, organic searches are located deep below.

 

Google Ads allows you to plan an estimated budget for search ads. These numbers are based on statistics, so they are not accurate. If you specify the keywords that you plan to use in search advertising, you will get a forecast of the estimated budget, impressions, clicks, cost-per-click, etc. You will also see a breakdown by device and by location. If you choose a country, you will approximately see how much traffic will come from each city.

 

Organic traffic

Organic traffic is free, you don’t have to pay for clicks. But if search advertising can be launched quite quickly, then organic traffic must wait at least six months.

 

Remarketing on Google Ads

Remarketing can be search, display, and dynamic. In Google Analytics, you can define and segment the audience of users who visited your site. You can customise ads on them. Dynamic remarketing is most effective. With it, you can show users the advertisement of the products that they viewed.

 

Push notifications

When a user visits the site, they see a window at the top of the screen offering to show notifications. If the user agrees to be shown, they will see push notifications with new site updates. This tool is free, but it needs to be properly configured.

 

Business pages on social networks

At the beginning of the development of the project, it is worth creating a business page and gradually filling it. This will allow you to put a link to the social network on your site. Users will be able to follow it and make sure that the company is alive, read reviews about it, etc.

Initially, one post per week is enough. In the future, this will help develop the community on social networks and make better use of targeted advertising.

April Industry News

Latest news on launchers, satellites, science and military sectors.

LAUNCHERS

Launcher to Test Rocket Engine at NASA Stennis – 15th April, 2020

Launcher’s full-scale test fire facility will be built at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, as part of Launcher’s U.S. Air Force SBIR Phase II contract to test-fire Launcher E-2, its 22,000-lbf thrust, 3D printed liquid rocket engine Source


Space Pioneer raises $14 million to develop green liquid rocket engines
– 14th April, 2020

Chinese space propulsion startup Space Pioneer has raised $14 million in funding for completing a series of next-generation liquid engines. The company, established in 2015, will use the funds to develop a 30-ton-thrust HCP liquid engine named Tianhuo-3. It aims to fully develop the engine and take it to the test stand this year. Igniter hot fire tests were performed late last year. Tianhuo series engines use a ‘next-generation’ green, ambient temperature propellant.Landspace Technology Corporation in March succeeded with a 1500-second test of its Tianque-11 10-ton-thrust engines. Landspace claims full-system hot tests of 10 seconds, 100 seconds, 750 seconds, and 1500 seconds were all completely successful. Source 

 

Russia suspends Soyuz rocket production amid coronavirus – 10th April, 2020

The manufacturer of Russia’s workhorse Soyuz-2 rocket said it has paused production to keep factory workers safe during the coronavirus pandemic. There was no mention of any impact from the bankruptcy of megaconstellation startup OneWeb, for which Arianespace had completed three of a planned 21 Soyuz launches under a $1.1 billion contract.Arianespace had stressed for the past two years that it had Soyuz rockets ready for OneWeb whenever the startup had satellites available to launch, and had anticipated conducting 10 Soyuz launches for OneWeb this year. Source

 

Rocket Lab executive says company is well positioned to weather crisis – 1st April, 2020

Rocket Lab’s primary launch site in New Zealand is temporarily shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak. But the small launch provider expects to get back on track later this year and is optimistic about both its launch and small satellite business.The pause in launch operations is giving Rocket Lab time to focus on its satellite business, said Richard French, director of global government launch services at Rocket Lab. “We’re doing detailed design work that was not getting as much attention when we were just focused on operations.”A year ago Rocket Lab unveiled a new line of Photon smallsats based on the kick stage the company uses on its Electron rocket. Source

SATELLITES

Spire and VesselBot focus on vessel tracking and monitoring – 15th April, 2020

Spire Global announced plans to work with VesselBot, a Greek technology company focused on the international maritime industry, to develop products based on Spire’s automatic identification system (AIS) data.

San Francisco-based Spire formed Spire Maritime in 2018 to develop vessel tracking and monitoring services. Spire Maritime is forging partnerships with industry experts like VesselBot and harnessing technologies like machine learning to expand its product line. Source

 

Exolaunch Signs Agreement with SpaceX for Falcon 9 Small Satellite Rideshare Mission – 14th April, 2020

Exolaunch, a German rideshare launch and deployment solutions provider, signed a Launch Services Agreement with SpaceX to launch small satellites on a Falcon 9 as part of SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program. Source 


Intelsat Seeking Bankruptcy Loan
– 14th April, 2020

Intelsat SA is seeking backers for a bankruptcy loan that would keep the satellite service in business under Chapter 11 court protection while it’s waiting for billions of dollars in proceeds from a government spectrum auction. Its bonds led decliners in the high-yield market.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is shopping the debtor-in-possession loan to institutional investors, many of whom specialize in financial restructuring. Source

 

OneWeb files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy – 27th March, 2020

UK based satellite internet startup OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Friday after its largest investor, Softbank, rejected a request for additional funding. The company said it laid off about 85% of its 531 employees prior to filing for bankruptcy.

“It is with a very heavy heart that we have been forced to reduce our workforce and enter the Chapter 11 process while the Company’s remaining employees are focused on responsibly managing our nascent constellation and working with the Court and investors,” OneWeb CEO Adrien Steckel said.

OneWeb’s filing shows $2.1 billion in total liabilities, including $1.7 billion in senior secured financing plus money owed to between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors. The U.K.-based company has raised $3.4 billion, but outside analysts estimated the satellite system would require as much as $7.5 billion to complete. Source 

SCIENCE

NASA’s Curiosity Keeps Rolling As Team Operates Rover From Home – 15th April, 2020

For the first time, NASA’s Curiosity rover’s operations were planned while the team was completely remote. The rover is usually commanded from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, where the mission is based. Source 

 

NOAA Announces First Series of Awards for Future Observation Technology – 14th April, 2020

NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service (NESDIS) announced the first in a series of contract awards to develop mission, spacecraft and instrument concepts for future Earth observation capabilities.

The new concepts NESDIS is considering in this initial round are atmospheric temperature and pressure sounding observations in low earth orbit (LEO) and broader mission approaches for geostationary earth orbits (GEO) and extended orbits (GEO-XO). Source 

MILITARY

Russia Tests Direct-ascent Anti-satellite Missile – 15th April, 2020

U.S. Space Command is aware and tracking Russia’s direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) missile test April 15. Russia’s missile system is capable of destroying satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) and comes on the heels of Russia’s on-orbit testing the U.S. highlighted in February, namely COSMOS 2542 and COSMOS 2543. These satellites, which behaved similar to previous Russian satellites that exhibited characteristics of a space weapon, conducted maneuvers near a U.S. Government satellite that would be interpreted as irresponsible and potentially threatening in any other domain.  Source 

 

National Security Space Association Seeks Aid During Pandemic – 14th April, 2020

The National Security Space Association (NSSA) is requesting billions of dollars in aid and a raft of policy changes to help its member companies survive the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The recommendations include: more than $2.5 billion in supplemental appropriations to fund programs; government guarantee loans for selected companies to prevent bankruptcies like OneWeb; acceleration of existing satellite programs; and application of “Buy American” domestic content regulations to national security acquisitions. Source

Stellar Growth for AstroAgency

AstroAgency onboarded ten new clients in Q1 2022 alone, despite fraught global landscape

 

This article was published on 14 April 2021 by The Herald

 

AstroAgency continues to cement its place as the leading strategic marketing agency specialising in the global space sector.

 

The agency’s diverse international team, which  counts a strong presence in Ukraine, remained committed to providing excellent and timely results to clients despite adverse conditions.

 

The team added 10 new clients to their roster, including prestigious names the European Space Agency’s UK Business Incubation Centre, the space debris removal company, Astroscale and Science and the Technology Facilities Council’s RAL Space.

 

With these new additions, Astroagency continues to champion ethical and  innovative businesses in the interconnected and rapidly growing UK space sector.

 

Founder and creative director, Daniel Smith, celebrated the milestone, saying: “It’s been a rollercoaster start to the year, between the team’s efforts made to deliver on current projects despite the impact on some of our team members due to the invasion of Ukraine, together with a number of long-term target clients being secured.”

 

Read more: Source

Giving space a new face

During the 1950s, the world’s two greatest superpowers were in an all-out race to send humans to the Moon. During this time, political propaganda was just as much a weapon against the opposing nation as the engineering behind the rockets and satellites. Posters, radio shows, and movies were used to encapsulate the unprecedented speed at which their nation was innovating. This time played a significant role in the development of space programs and technologies around the globe. Today, we are experiencing a new space age, but this time it is driven by private companies instead of nations.

THE NEW SPACE RACE

We are at the vanguard of a new era, a turning point in the history of space exploration and development, fueled with the potential of sending humans back to the moon and beyond. New industries are being born that use space in ways we haven’t seen before. From launch to satellites to robotics to data and analytics, young companies are entering an industry previously inaccessible. Privately funded companies and advanced technologies have helped inspire humanity once again about achieving the impossible.

 

The space industry is a complicated landscape, containing a wide variety of public and private sector stakeholders. There’s an ‘alphabet soup’ of regulators, industry bodies, space agencies, grant providers, conference organisers, and enterprise agencies. As well as a growing number of ‘new space’ startups and ‘old space’ primes all competing for attention in a highly lucrative and fast-growing market.

 

In the sea of NewSpace companies entering the market, it can be difficult to stand out. Yet, some companies manage to put themselves on everyone’s radar. So, how do they do it?

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT YOUR COOL PRODUCT

One of the most common issues we see in the space industry is companies that offer innovative products and services are unable to break through and promote their businesses. Why? Because they are not aware of how to do so or because they are unable to track the plethora of exciting opportunities that exist. With the increase in funding and support from many governments worldwide, the space industry is most definitely open for business and is welcoming a whole load of new and exciting companies. There are many opportunities to take part in this growing industry, where well-developed strategies and marketing campaigns will help your company stand out in this active environment.

 

USING YOUR INNER VOICE

The key to a good relationship is communication. This comprises of romantic relationships, friendships, and coworker relationships, but it also includes brand to customer relationships. Think about it, anytime you try to educate, convince, entertain or engage with customers, you are using the voice of your brand to leave an impression. By using a strong and consistent voice, your bold and visionary ideas can be effectively communicated with the world and stronger relationships can be formed. This new era of the space industry comes with a lot of opportunities. We can make use of the lessons learned from the twentieth-century space race and create a brand voice that honors the excitement of your company’s mission to gain leverage in this increasingly crowded landscape.

 

Our team at AstroAgency is here to help the world’s most daring and visionary space entrepreneurs enter the new space market and to give the space industry a new face.

AstroAgency and Scottish Space Leadership Council secure Space Agency funding

AstroAgency has been awarded a development grant from the UK Space Agency to establish a space hub on behalf of the Scottish Space Leadership Council (SSLC).

 

A strategic marketing firm working exclusively across the international space sector has been awarded a development grant from the UK Space Agency to establish a space hub on behalf of the Scottish Space Leadership Council (SSLC).

 

International space start-up AstroAgency will use the financial support to advance the SSLC into a formalised entity, with the ultimate aim of connecting and promoting Scotland’s fast-growing space ecosystem nationally and internationally.

 

Established by industry experts, the space intelligence and marketing firm has grown to 12 staff in its first year, securing a long list of high profile and established global space clients and new entrants looking to transition into the sector.

 

UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway explained, This funding will arm local leaders up and down the UK with the tools they need to put their local areas at the front of the commercial space race, while refuelling the tank of the UK economy. UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart added, Today’s funding announcement is another example of how the UK Government is securing the UK’s position as a global leader in the space sector. The investment in Scottish projects will contribute to regional economic growth and support the development of the space industry across the country.”

 

The SSLC was formed in 2016 as a voluntary, cross-sectoral representative organisation in response to the need for greater connection and collaboration within the Scottish and wider UK space community.

 

The Council has evolved a reputation for being an ambitious, results-driven organisation and now aims to formally act as a conduit for growth and gateway to a flourishing space sector.

 

Scottish Trade, Investment & Innovation Minister, Ivan McKee, said: The SSLC, with strong support from the Scottish Government and its agencies, already plays an important role in the development of our growing space sector, most recently bringing together the developing spaceports across the UK to form the Spaceports Alliance. This funding will further enhance its work and support our ambitions for Scotland to become Europe’s leading space nation.”

 

“I welcome the UK Space Agency’s recognition of the importance of a unified industry voice from Scotland and for my part, I will champion the views of our sector at all levels of government. The Scottish Government’s aim is for Scotland to secure a £4 billion slice of the global space market by 2030, an ambitious but realistic target, and I look forward to continuing our close collaboration in order to further develop the sector and promote opportunities for our businesses.”

 

AstroAgency founder and space entrepreneur, Daniel Smith, stated: We look forward to outlining a strategy that ensures the SSLC remains at the forefront of industry developments.”

 

“AstroAgency’s strategic space marketing focus means that we don’t simply raise awareness in space activity, but identify partnership and investment opportunities, provide regular market intelligence and connect partners directly into the NewSpace ecosystem.”

 

“Our experienced international space team understands the opportunities that this innovative industry can deliver across every sector imaginable, not to mention the important role it has to play in boosting local economies and protecting our environment.”

 

Chair of the Scottish Space Leadership Council John Innes commented, The SSLC, working together with the AstroAgency team, look forward to establishing a formalised Scottish hub suited to connecting and promoting the country’s vibrant space sector”, while Linda Hannah, Interim CEO of Scottish Enterprise added, “The companies, organisations and support structures within the sector are on the same mission to create a thriving, world-leading and innovative hub that will drive an ambitious growth plan to create the jobs and tech solutions of the future too” adding that the award was ”great news for the space sector.

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