Scotland’s ‘thriving work’ in the space sector is set to be explored at a networking event next month.

Leading academics from the fields of physics, astronomy, aerospace, geographical and earth sciences will map out the future for the burgeoning industry at an event at the University of St Andrews on Wednesday, March 6.

Organised by VisitScotland’s business events team, the INNOVATETHENATION event will take place at the university’s Physics and Astronomy Building and will “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”.

INNOVATESPACE will discuss Scotland’s “thriving work” in the different areas within the space sector and how the country is making a name for itself as a growing and dynamic location for work in the field.

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.

Speakers at INNOVATESPACE include Dr Anne-Marie Weijmans, School of Physics & Astronomy at the University of St Andrews; Dr Ciara McGrath, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Strathclyde; 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.”

Dr Ciara McGrath from the University of Strathclyde 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 maneuverability, 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.”