UK Space Agency backs two Welsh projects
Two projects aimed at boosting the space sector in Wales are to receive funding from the UK Space Agency.
The funding includes £200,000 for a space cluster development manager to help the sector grow across Wales and £36,000 to explore the potential for a space observatory and planetarium to be established in Eryri, taking advantage of the area being part of the most extensive dark skies reserve in the UK.
The Welsh space sector includes 59 space organisations that generate £42 million in income to the UK economy each year.
The projects are among 18 new schemes across the UK to receive support.
Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “Wales’ space ecosystem is well placed to grasp the opportunities from the growing global space sector, thanks to its strong advanced manufacturing and technology base.
“Its universities are already involved in world-class space research and it has growing strengths in satellite technology. Our new funding for a space cluster manager and support for the plans for a space observatory and planetarium in Snowdonia will accelerate the development of this fast-growing space ecosystem and help realise its full economic potential.
“Informed by our work with areas across the UK to understand the strengths and needs of local space economies, we are backing a wide range of clusters of excellence to forge new collaborations, grow and thrive.”
The space cluster manager, based at Aerospace Wales, will work with local government, businesses, and academia to coordinate space activity and encourage collaboration and inward investment.
These clusters will complement the Harwell Space Cluster, in Oxfordshire, which is home to more than 100 space organisations, employing over 1,400 people.
The UK Space Agency funding also includes £1.5 million for an expert consortium of business support providers, led by Entrepreneurial Spark, to work with entrepreneurs from all over the UK and help them get involved in the space sector.
A previous collaboration between the UK Space Agency and Entrepreneurial Spark, aimed at space start-ups, generated almost £9 million in investment and created 80 new jobs for those who took part in the business support programme.
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A Space Observatory and Planetarium for Dark Sky Eryri, what a good idea !