Space sector strategy experts AstroAgency and AzurX have announced their intention to bridge fast-growing commercial space activities between Scotland and the United Arab Emirates, following the launch of the Scottish Space Strategy at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Globally focused strategic space marketing firm AstroAgency, headquartered in Edinburgh, has announced it will team up with a Dubai-based space investment and advisory company AzurX, to support space businesses in both regions, access new development opportunities and forge collaborative partnerships.
The two organisations boast a global space client base, with AzurX acting as the trusted advisor and counselor to a growing number of the world’s most influential aerospace and space companies including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Satellite Imaging Company HySpecIQ backed by venture capitalist Peter Thiel. AstroAgency’s international team has a proven track record of working with a range of government entities including the UK Space Agency, European Space Agency Business Incubation Centres in the UK, RAL Space and Science and Technology Facilities Council, as well as close to 40 private sector companies such as Astroscale, Euroconsult and Astrosat.
AzurX and AstroAgency previously collaborated on a strategic project to support the Scottish Government and its agencies, delivering the Scottish Space Day at Expo 2020 Dubai. The firms recognised an opportunity to build upon the foundations created by the event, which benefitted a host of Scottish space stakeholders, including Prestwick Spaceport, Trade in Space and Skyrora, that took part in a delegation to meet with potential partners and investors in the UAE. The event served as the stage to announce the ambitious new Scottish Space Strategy, illustrating the growing importance of the sector for the Scottish economy which led to significant media attention from CNN and a plethora of Emirati media platforms.
This announcement outlines immediate plans to support the World Space Sustainability Association (WSSA), founded by elseco, the leading space insurance entity, Herbert Smith Freehill law firm and the prestigious Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Dubai, with key players behind sustainability initiatives from Space Scotland’s Environmental Task Force, including the Sustainable Space Challenges and recent Sustainability and Net Zero Roadmap for Space. Moreover, another initial project is being discussed to support Scottish and wider UK space companies to establish a presence in the UAE to access new market opportunities, customers and funding channels and play a role in the local private space ecosystem. Discussions are taking place with dedicated industrial and innovation zones across the UAE in close coordination with the UAE Space Agency.
On the announced Teaming Agreement between AstroAgency and AzurX, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise Ivan McKee stated, “Six months on from the launch of Scotland’s space strategy at our Space Day at Expo 2020 Dubai and we are seeing tangible positive results coming to fruition.
“It is great to see dynamic innovative Space sector strategy experts AstroAgency and AzurX coming together to bridge fast-growing commercial space activities between Scotland and the United Arab Emirates. The Space industry in Scotland and indeed globally is seeing exponential growth and international business partnerships such as this will become even more important to allow exchange of talent, ideas and business connections.
“Both AstroAgency and AzurX played a significant role in showcasing Scotland’s space strengths at Expo 2020 Dubai and I am delighted that they are formalising plans to work together and I am in no doubt that this partnership will go on to achieve even greater results.”
The new partnership is poised to help the Scottish space community build on this momentum by facilitating their access to new opportunities for investment and business development in the UAE. The Scottish space sector is the leading manufacturer of small satellites in Europe and has developed a diverse range of capabilities, from launch services to strong data analysis and research services.
The UAE’s thought-leadership around space sustainability was welcomed by Laurent Lemaire, CEO of elseco, who said “The sustainable use of outer space is as much a global objective as it is a responsibility for all actors involved. As the Scottish space sector matures, its progress to develop a roadmap to a sustainable space ecosystem becomes more crucial and will serve as an example to others. The partnership between AzurX and AstroAgency is thus a positive development that holds the potential to unite the Scottish and UAE space communities within the global space sustainability community supported by the World Space Sustainability Association.”
The two companies plan to focus on the UAE and Scotland initially, with a view to expanding activity to support space firms across the UK to build connections and collaborate with the UAE and wider Middle East region.
Founder of AzurX, Anna Hazlett, said “Our partnership with AstroAgency has been in the works for some time, AzurX and AstroAgency are both fast-growing private space companies with unparalleled industry connections and experience in our respective regions. We are confident our collaboration will deliver value to business stakeholders, as well as helping to support government space ambitions on both sides.”
Space entrepreneur Daniel Smith, who founded AstroAgency in 2019 and is also a founding Director of not-for-profit group Space Scotland, concluded “We’re excited to explore further collaboration opportunities around space between the UAE and Scotland, building upon strong foundations from Expo 2020’s Space Week in Dubai.”
The UK space sector employs over 45,000 people in highly skilled jobs – from space scientists and researchers to engineers and satellite manufacturers. The country aims to add space launch capability with five developing spaceports in Scotland alone, to already established satellite manufacturing and downstream data analysis sectors. Meanwhile, The UAE has rapidly emerged as a serious player in the space world, launching its first satellites, astronaut, and interplanetary missions in quick succession. Both regions are well positioned to capture a significant share of the global space market, recently estimated to be worth $490 billion by the end of the decade.