THE UK’s space regulator has said Scotland is “poised to be right at the heart of the UK’s future space ambitions”.

One of the Civil Aviation Authorities (CAA) joint interim chief executives, Rob Bishton, also said Scottish engineers and scientists “will help drive the technology and innovation” to put the UK on the space industry map.

During a two-day visit, regulator representatives are visiting Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports, Loganair, Bristow Helicopters and Skyrora.

The CAA’s joint interim chief executives Paul Smith and Bishton met with senior figures from Edinburgh-based rocket manufacturer Skyrora on Tuesday ahead of the company’s application for a launch from the planned SaxaVord Spaceport on Unst at the very north of the Shetland Isles.

At Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports, the CAA are to see progress on sustainability, innovation and the investment being made to improve the passenger experience.

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They will also meet representatives from Connected Places Catapult, which is assisting Glasgow Airport, to create the UK’s first Connected Airport Living Lab.

Scotland has strong roots in satellite manufacturing, rocket manufacturing, data and ground-breaking research, as well as plans for developments across a range of spaceports and launch operators.

The CAA said it has issued 343 licences since it became the UK’s space regulator in July 2021, and is assessing a further 25.

More than 750 UK satellites in space are also being monitored by the organisation.

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Bishton said: “With more than 340 licences granted across all aspects of space since July 2021, we’re continuing to play our role in enabling the space sector to grow and our engagement with industry is a key part of that.

“We are working constantly with industry to review and improve our processes to make sure the UK space sector is safe, sustainable, and successful.

“As the UK’s space regulator, it is our role to enable and support the sector so it can become world-leading.

“The UK space sector is thriving, and Scotland is poised to be right at the heart of the UK’s future space ambitions.

“Scottish engineers and scientists will help drive the technology and innovation needed to help put the UK on the map in the burgeoning space sector.”

According to the Scottish Government, it is estimated that Scotland’s space sector could generate £4 billion for the Scottish economy by 2030, as well as creating 20,000 jobs.

A Virgin Orbit rocket failed to complete the first satellite launch from UK soil in January.

The rocket took off from Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay attached to a jumbo jet but suffered a dislodged fuel filter which caused an engine to overheat.