Lift off for Wales as plans for space strategy announced

Credit: PA Images

Plans on how Wales could play its part in the future of space exploration have been unveiled by the Welsh Government.

Sea-based launches from Port Talbot as well as the development of satellite technology to find water on other planets is part of the Wales Space Strategy.

Space technology and exploration has been one of the fastest growing industries in the UK since 2010, employing 42,000 people and generating £14.8bn a year.

The Welsh Government believes its plans could achieve around £2bn a year for the Welsh economy and it wants to lead the way in exploring space in greener ways.

Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket with NASAs James Webb Space Telescope onboard, is seen at the launch pad in 2021 Credit: PA Images

Wales already has a strong manufacturing and technological base, which share similarities to the space industry supply chain like in photonics, aerospace, secure communications and software systems.

The Welsh Government thinks this provides Wales with a blueprint to become a true haven for space innovation.

Also included in the plans is training and experience capability at Spaceport Snowdonia at Llanbedr in Gwynedd.

The scheme is being supported by the British Astronaut, Sir Tim Peake.

"Space has an ability to inspire and educate future generations, as well as being at the heart of solving some of today's toughest challenges.

"Technology and innovation are key to growing our economy with a skilled workforce and I'm delighted to see that Wales is embracing the exciting opportunities that the space sector has to offer."

Sir Tim Peake is backing the project by the Welsh Government. Credit: PA Images

The Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething MS has unveiled the plans, during a visit to Cardiff University, which has a track-record for world-class space research.

"The global space industry is rapidly transforming. In all our day to day lives we are becoming more reliant on the space sector and the data it provides, from weather forecasting, internet banking and Sat Nav in our vehicles.

"Wales has a track record of delivering high value manufacturing and innovation which puts a vibrant cluster of space industry leaders operating here in a prime position to flourish in this growing sector.

"The new strategy being launching today provides a blueprint for how Wales will capitalise on the potential of this huge growth sector and build a space ecosystem with well-paid, highly-skilled jobs closer to home, spreading prosperity across Wales.

Mr Gething added: "this exciting sector also opens up a new front in tackling climate change and perfectly aligns with our focus on clean energy and the wider green agenda, underpinned by key policies and priorities.

"The UK has ambitions to double the size of the space sector by 2030. The Welsh Government fully backs this growth and we're working closely with the UK Space Agency to ensure our new national strategy for Wales aligns with the UK's ambitions."