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Investment In Space Technology

25th September 2019

A £14.7 million investment in a Glasgow-based satellite company will help create more than 260 jobs in Scotland's space sector.

On a visit to Spire Global, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the company has received one of the largest funding packages ever provided by Scottish Enterprise.

Spire Global builds, tests and operates nanosatellites tracking aviation, maritime and weather patterns. The investment will enable it to move into new 40,000sq ft premises at Glasgow's Skypark facility and increase its local workforce from 60 to 320 over the next five years.

The First Minister said:"Our space sector is already punching above its weight, with almost one fifth of all UK jobs in this industry based north of the border and Scotland producing more small satellites than any other country in Europe.

"This £14.7 million investment will help Spire Global develop its infrastructure and technologies, which in turn will create dozens of high-tech and highly skilled jobs and training opportunities in Scotland's space sector.

"Only five years ago I announced Spire Global was creating 50 jobs by opening its office in Scotland - to see the rapid expansion of this innovative company shows the strength of our workforce and pool of talent coming from our world class universities.

"Spire Global's expansion sends a strong message that even in these uncertain times, Scotland remains open for business and has the potential to be Europe’s leading space nation."

CEO of Spire Global, Peter Platzer said:

“We want to work with the industry to build the world's most effective weather forecast and to be a valuable contributing member of the Global Weather Enterprise.

“We will continue to scale the company and grow our workforce in Glasgow, along with our global product offering, to help countries across all industries, as well as governments tackle ever more frequent and extreme weather events in this era of climate change.

“Glasgow has been a fantastic location for us, with exceptional talent and people with a phenomenal ‘can-do’ attitude and true grit. We are excited to substantially expand our presence here and look forward to the continuation of strong partnerships within Scotland, the UK Space Agency, and the wider UK space ecosystems."

Charlie Smith, Managing Director, International Development, Strategy and Technology at Scottish Enterprise said:

“This total support package of almost £15m for Spire Global underscores our commitment to make Scotland Europe’s leading space nation.

“Ever since Scottish Enterprise first engaged with Spire Global back in 2015, we have developed a fantastic working relationship with the company, culminating in this unprecedented level of funding announced today. Spire Global’s expansion plans for Glasgow are incredibly exciting and will provide a huge boost to the Scottish economy.

“Providing support to innovative international companies, such as Spire Global, to allow it to flourish in Scotland is a major priority for Scottish Enterprise as part of our Strategic Framework. Scottish Enterprise looks forward to continuing to work in partnership with Spire Global as the company significantly enhances its presence in Glasgow."

The funding includes a £6.7m Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) award from Scottish Enterprise and an £8m commercial convertible loan note from the economic agency’s investment arm, the Scottish Investment Bank.

The Programme for Government sets out Scotland’s ambitions to have a £4 billion share of the global space market by 2030.

The First Minister announced £1.9 million grant funding from the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise at a US investor event in New York in 2015.

Spire Global has become an industry-standard in the commercial aerospace sector and operates one of the largest constellations of private nanosatellites and ground station networks in the world. Headquartered in San Francisco the company has launched several new strategic partnerships this year, including deals with NASA, ESA, Amazon Ground Stations and key global players in the weather, maritime and aviation sectors.

This investment will allow Spire to expand its Glasgow site, which will house both the manufacturing and testing capability for the group’s entire satellite constellation. It will increase headcount in sales, marketing and operations - increasing staff numbers to drive the engineering and data processing capabilities of the company.

The expansion will see the creation of hundreds of new high value roles at the site, making Glasgow the largest global facility of the company. The expansion will be focused on satellite platform development, satellite payload development, constellation software development and product software development and data science.

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