WALKING through the offices of Clyde Space, it is all too easy to ignore the stunning views across Glasgow from the fifth floor of trendy Finnieston’ s Skypark and focus instead on the space technology company’s clean room.

Here, on the other side of glass panels, technicians in lab coats work at desks covered in parts which will, soon enough, be in orbit above the planet.

There’s even a plaque with Taylor Swift’s signature on it being prepped as an integral part of one particular order.

Ask anyone with an opinion on Scotland’s space industry what the catalyst for its growth has been and the answer will invariably be “Craig Clark”.

The chief executive of Clyde Space set the business up in 2005 after returning to Glasgow from a leading satellite business in England. By 2014 it had launched Scotland’s first satellite into orbit.

Backed by Hugh Stewart’s Coralinn, and Nevis Capital, Clyde Space now turns over more than £5m, which is expected to grow by as much as 60 per cent this year.

Looking back to the company’s start-up days, Mr Clark says: “People thought I was crazy. I wanted to stop them saying ‘we don’t do that here’ and I think we’ve done that now. Maybe that’s my first achievement.”

It is an achievement that in 2013 yielded an MBE, but there’s as sense that Clyde Space is only really getting started.

It now has 70 full-time staff, and last year made about 60 satellites – something Mr Clark says is an “awesome” achievement, echoing the company’s slogan: space is awesome.

When the business launched it focussed on selling parts for satellites, but in 2007 Mr Clark identified the opportunity in CubeSats and immediately began developing one.

These miniature satellites are around the same size and shape as a whisky gift box. With a mass of about four kilograms, the fully-functional satellites ‘piggy-back’ onto other launches.

A CubeSat can be launched for as little as $100,000 and as the technology in the units advances, so too do their functions. In addition to GPS, imaging and weather observations, Clyde Space is currently working on a project for early detection of bush fires in Africa.

Depending on the orbit and the design, most of the satellites have a lifespan of five years. They are small enough to burn up at end of life, so don’t add to space debris.

“If you go back ten years and wanted to do something in space, collecting data or taking pictures, the amount of money you’d need would be tens if not hundreds of millions of pounds,” says Mr Clark.

A large geostationary satellite can take five to ten years from concept to launch and will cost around $1 billion. Mr Clark says his customers look for launch in less than a year.

This is achievable because the company standardises its satellite parts as much as possible, which brings the cost down.

Such is the efficiency of the business model, Clyde Space now supports, in some form, 40 per cent of all CubeSat missions.

The company is close to capacity in its office, but Mr Clark said one of the reasons they moved to Skypark was because it was easy to expand. The company has space downstairs which it uses for environmental tests, and Mr Clark said it can quite easily take more space when required.

A further boost came last September when former Virgin Galactic boss Will Whitehorn joined as chairman.

“It makes the board meetings a lot more productive,” says Mr Clark. “We’re looking at the future and he’s good at directing and making sure we stay on point, so it’s been good to have him in there. And he’s well connected and brings a lot of support to me.”

As a member of the Space Leadership Council, which advises on the direction of the UK Space Agency and is co-chaired by the UK Science Minister, Mr Clark is pretty well connected himself these days.

That will help when he tries to raise the $3 to $4m required to fund US expansion, where 40 per cent of its business is derived. Home to NASA, and its $18.4 billion budget, there is no doubting that the US remains the driver of space exploration.

Its most recent contract win there was with well-regarded Silicon Valley start-up Audacity, which plans to create a wifi communications network in space.

While his ambitions are very much global, Mr Clark is reassuringly at home in Scotland.

“We’ve got a good momentum here in Scotland for space,” he says. “People have a lot of belief in the industry growing, the numbers are hitting what people predicted, and there is support from Government.”

And now, the man behind a business very much in tune with space says Prestwick airport could become the gateway to sub-orbital space exploration, which is being pursued by a number of private businesses.

“Launches take place all over,” he says. “It could absolutely happen in Scotland, it’s actually a good place to launch from. Prestwick seems to be pretty much an ideal location. It may be the gateway for sub-orbital travel,” he says. “If Elvis could land there and take-off why not a sub-orbital space port.”

As one of the most respected voices in his industry, it is unlikely that this claim is just talk. By the time we reach that point, Clyde Space will be a different business. It may have been sold, it may have grown through acquisition, but whatever the future holds, Mr Clark’s legacy as part of Scotland’s long line of globally-influencing scientific innovators is secure.

With a career already spanning three decades, Mr Clark says he doesn’t look up at the night sky as often as he used to – in spite of knowing his satellites may be passing 500 kilometres overhead.

“I’ve been doing this 20 years, and at the company I worked for before, something I designed and built is on a comet now, so you can’t get much better than that,” he says. “Obviously working in the space industry is pretty cool, but we’re a business and we need to make money, so it’s all about that.”