The UK Government has this week provided funding to support the development of a space hub in Wales.
The funding will ensure space is a priority for regional economic growth and attract commercial investment from space companies to the area. It will bring together local authorities, expertise and businesses to create a strategy for how the area can take maximum advantage of the commercial space race.
In the last decade space has transformed into one of the UK’s fastest growing and most venerable sectors. Trebling in size in 2010, at the last count the UK space industry now employs close to 42,000 people in all corners of the country and generates an income of nearly £15 billion every year.
The Government is committed to making space a sector that thrives beyond the ‘Golden Triangle’ of London, Cambridge and Oxford, and contributes jobs and growth to regions across the whole of the UK. This approach is reinforced by support for seven potential spaceport locations including one in Wales.
Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates, said:
“I welcome news of this funding at what is an uncertain time. It will give us the opportunity to identify areas of strength and opportunity within our space sector, and provide us with the stimulus to deliver a programme of work which will be structured to feed into the National Space Strategy.
“The space sector in Wales is a critical part of the Welsh economy, and we are committed to supporting its growth and development.
“We offer a unique physical and business environment to companies in the space economy, boasting a strong advanced manufacturing and technology base with specific strengths in sectors that share elements of the space industry supply chain, such as photonics, aerospace, secure communications and software systems.”
The six-month project will see local government, experts and business leaders come together to find out how their area can take advantage of the opportunities of the commercial space age.
The project will be led by the Welsh Government and include academic institutions, research groups and businesses, to look at current strengths and set a strategy for how to grow the space sector in their area.
New money is just one element of an expanded programme of regional activity which the UK Space Agency will be setting out in the coming months, that will be delivered alongside key partners such as the Satellite Applications Catapult, as part of its commitment to help rebalance the economy and support new high-skilled jobs and careers in space across the country.