World’s space elite descend on Strathclyde for global conference

Satellite dishes

Leading figures from the international space sector have arrived at the University today to explore how space data can be used to support businesses.

Data.Space2017 – the first conference of its kind - will bring the world’s space data community together to discuss how satellite applications could be used to support a wide range of sectors, including farming, transport, life sciences, energy and environment.

Scottish space industry

Scotland is home to a growing number of internationally-recognised space companies developing both affordable satellite hardware, and the applications that harness the data satellites provide. Around 18% of the UK’s space sector employment – the equivalent of around 7,000 jobs – are now based in Scotland.

Large companies and SMEs alike are increasingly using space data to inform their businesses – gaining insights into a wide range of areas including weather, transport networks, flooding, forestry, and even tracking icebergs.

Dr Malcolm Macdonald, Director of the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications at the University of Strathclyde, said: “In recent years, we’ve seen a growing demand for an international event to focus on space data, and how it can be used to support business, industry and the public sector. As home to one of Europe’s largest space engineering research groups, Strathclyde is ideally placed to bring people together and we’ve been delighted by the response.

“We’re increasingly seeing successful space companies from around the world being attracted to Scotland, and indeed to Glasgow. The strong links between the University, the sector and government have fostered an innovative environment where together, we can develop disruptive technologies and harness the satellite data needed to have a real impact for business, industry and wider society.”

The keynote speaker at the two day conference will be Peter Platzer, CEO of Spire Global, a leading player in the nanosatellite sector. The company began in California but now hosts its largest office in Glasgow, where it is building the world’s most advanced satellite constellation.

“Glasgow has been an ideal place to build our satellites. There is a very skilled manufacturing base, access to European talent, and a supportive business climate,” said Mr. Platzer.

“The data generated by our constellation and other satellite systems will power businesses globally for the next several decades. The better we coordinate as an industry through conferences like Data.Space, the more value customers will get out of these datasets.”

Scotland is currently home to more than 100 organisations engaged in space-related activities. Sixty seven of those have headquarters in Scotland, generating some £131 million in income.

Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult, said: “Innovation in space is all about how we can use the data and information from satellites to improve our daily lives.  We would like to encourage companies and organisations who have never considered using space data to come and find out how they could benefit from space services.”

For more information on the Data Space Conference, please see: