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Clyde Space forms US company and expands Scottish HQ

Scottish Enterprise CEO, Lena Wilson, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Clyde Space CEO Craig Clark

Clyde Space, the company which designed and manufactured Scotland’s first satellite, has announced it is opening its first subsidiary company in the United States.

As First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited the company’s Glasgow headquarters, CEO Craig Clark also revealed that to meet rising demand for the company’s products, it has increased its current manufacturing capacity by creating an additional 2500ft2 clean room for building and testing satellites.

Clyde Space produces small satellite, nanosatellite and CubeSat systems – fully functional satellites that ‘piggy-back’ on other launches to minimise costs and boost the commercial viability of space research.

An average of four spacecraft a month is being produced in the current clean room, a number that is expected to increase in the next 12 to 18 months.

Clark said: “Our American customers have been asking us to open in the USA for a number of years and we see huge opportunities there both in commercial space activity and also in the defence sector. Over 90% of our sales are exported and it is the logical move for our first investment overseas."

He added: “At first, the US company will concentrate on developing sales but we expect to quickly establish a manufacturing base replicating what we have in Glasgow.”

The expansion of its Scottish headquarters comes 13 months after moving from its previous base because it was too small. In that time the Clyde Space team has doubled to 75 staff and that is expected to increase to 100 this year. The recruitment will bolster spacecraft development, manufacturing, business development and back-office functions.

Clark also announced the company's revenue this year to date already exceeding the total income of last year, turnover to the end of April 2016 is expected to be $8m, a fivefold increase over three years.

He said: “We are creating multiple high-skilled jobs here in Glasgow – I think the space industry is a hidden gem in the UK’s economy and I’m delighted we’ve managed to bring the space industry to Scotland.”

Since moving into its current base just over a year ago, £500,000 has been invested in space environment test facilities but demand for its products is already outstripping capacity.

Current recruiting has been part-funded by a Regional Selective Assistance Grant of £480,000 from Scottish Enterprise.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Clyde Space is a great example of an innovative Scottish company expanding internationally and, with financial support from Scottish Enterprise, committed to creating new jobs in Glasgow."

Author
Tom Austin-Morgan

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