Space infrastructure in Wales boosted by £8 million investment
Space research, manufacturing and testing facilities in Wales have received £8 million from a new fund set up by the UK Space Agency.
The Space Clusters Infrastructure Fund has awarded more than £47 million to 12 projects across the UK, with projects in Cardiff and Gwynedd set to benefit.
The funding aims to support the growth of UK space businesses and create new jobs, as well as enhancing the UK’s offering of space capabilities and services to international investors and major space players.
Almost £8 million has been allocated to Cardiff-based Space Forge for a National Microgravity Research Centre, for advanced material research and production. Alongside the development of centre tooling and open access facilities for customers, the centre will create a central space hub for the growing Welsh space sector.
Snowdonia LLP has been awarded £800,000 to develop the Space Technology Test Centre (STTC) at the Snowdonia Space Centre, Llanbedr, Gwynedd, in partnership with Newton Launch Systems Ltd.
The centre aims to exploit the unique location of the Snowdonia Space Centre, with its own immediate Danger Area and direct access to a larger Danger Area over Cardigan Bay, to provide a flight test range for rocket-powered test vehicles, near-space scientific flights, microgravity research and trials of re-entry vehicles and payload recovery systems.
Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies, said: “The space sector in Wales is expanding rapidly and I’m delighted to see almost £8 million worth of UK Government investment going to projects in both north and south Wales. This means new highly-skilled jobs will be created, and world class facilities will be developed which will support continued growth in the industry in Wales.”
Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “Our space sector has been concentrated in London and the South East, but in recent years we’ve seen the emergence of vibrant clusters across the whole of the country.”
He added: “The Space Clusters Infrastructure Fund highlights the government’s commitment to space and will help deliver the goal set out in the National Space Strategy to build one of the most innovative and attractive space economies in the world, developing new skills and creating jobs.”
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