Scotland’s satellite industry could help revolutionise the world’s response to natural disasters and potentially save lives, according to a leading scientific researcher.
Dr Ciara McGrath, from the University of Strathclyde, will make the claim at VisitScotland Business Events’ latest INNOVATETHENATION talk, held at the University of St Andrews tonight (Wednesday, 6 March).
INNOVATESPACE will discuss Scotland’s thriving work within the Space sector and how the country is making a name for itself as a growing and dynamic location in this field.
There are currently 132 organisations engaged in space-related activities in Scotland, including the headquarters of 83 UK space industry firms with a total income of £140 million.
Last year, the UK Space Agency and Highlands and Islands Enterprise announced funding to build the UK’s first spaceport in Sutherland which will launch Scottish-built satellites into space by early 2020.
Dr McGrath, a Research Associate in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, will use INNOVATESPACE to present her research on the use of satellites the size of shoeboxes, called CubeSats, to track natural disasters.
Currently, the only satellites that can provide real-time coverage of natural disasters are larger geo-stationary satellites which sit in a set orbit about 36,000km above the surface and follow the rotation of the Earth.
Dr McGrath said: “Scotland has a rich heritage of innovation and engineering but the growth in the Scottish satellite sector has really taken off in the last ten years.
“At the moment satellites tend to follow a set path in orbit around the Earth as it takes a lot of fuel to move them, but there are new smaller satellites (CubeSats) being built in Glasgow which are easier to move around - and there are more being built here than any other city in Europe.
“It’s like moving a drone rather than a 747. With easier manoeuvrability, they could be used to learn about natural disasters, such as forest fires and hurricanes, by tracking their movements and rapidly relaying data to first responders. In doing so Scotland could help revolutionise the world’s response to natural disasters and potentially save lives.”
INNOVATETHENATION, organised by VisitScotland Business Events, is a series of talks which bring together industry experts to discuss Scotland’s areas of excellence and innovation and to help attract future events to Scotland's cities and regions.
Joining Dr McGrath to speak at INNOVATESPACE will be Dr Anne-Marie Weijmans, School of Physics & Astronomy at the University of St Andrews, and Dr Luke Daly, School of Geographical & Earth Sciences at the University of Glasgow.
Fiona MacKinnon, Associations & Sectors, VisitScotland Business Events said: “Scotland has a hugely successful and thriving space sector, by the year 2030 it is expected that the space industry will grow its value to £4billion. Our speakers for INNOVATESPACE all have different focuses within the sector and we’re looking forward to hearing about the fantastic work each of their institutions are doing to take Scotland into the next stratosphere.”
INNOVATESPACE will take place at the University of St Andrews, Physics and Astronomy Building, North Haugh.
Notes to Editors
VisitScotland Business Events
- The Business Events Industry focuses on Scotland as a destination for conferences, conventions, and incentive programmes.
- Currently, business events represent 20% of all tourism expenditure in Scotland. Business visitors spend almost twice that of leisure visitors, making it a highly lucrative sector, and it is also less seasonal than leisure tourism.
- In addition, attracting a major conference reinforces Scotland’s credentials in key industries and can make us a more attractive destination for inward investors, meaning that the benefits of business events extend well beyond delegate spend.
- For information about business events in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
- Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
- The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
- This will be supported by five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
- Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
- For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
- Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
- For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
- For information about business tourism in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
Scotland’s Themed Years
- Following an industry consultation, the Themed Years will now take place every second year to enable more time for planning and opportunities for collaboration.
- 2020 has been designated as a year in which Scotland’s Coasts and Waters will be showcased and celebrated with a programme of activity designed to support the nation’s tourism and events sectors.
- The year, led by VisitScotland will sustain and build upon the momentum of Scotland’s preceding Themed Years to spotlight, celebrate and promote opportunities to experience and enjoy Scotland’s unrivalled Coasts and Waters, encouraging responsible engagement and participation from the people of Scotland and our visitors.
- A year-long programme of events, activities and ideas will shine a spotlight on the impact our waters have had on Scotland, from the formation of beautiful natural features to the creation of our national drink – whisky.
- Join the conversation using #YCW2020
- 2022 will be the Year of Scotland’s Stories - a celebration of our rich literature, film, oral traditions and myths and legends.