Welsh Government launches ‘exciting’ new space strategy
The Welsh Government have launched a new space strategy they say will ensure that Wales takes advantage of the growing space industry and help create high-quality jobs across the country.
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething today unveiled the Welsh Government’s National Space Strategy for Wales, Wales: A Sustainable Space Nation.
The Welsh Government said that the strategy “sets out how Wales could become the world’s first sustainable space nation by 2040 – leading the way to a greener space”.
Since 2010, space has proven to be one of the UK’s fastest-growing sectors, trebling in size during that time. The sector now employs 42,000 people and generates an income of £14.8bn each year.
The UK space sector has previously set a target of achieving a 10% share of the predicted £400bn annual global space market in 2030. The Welsh Government’s ambition is for Wales to achieve a 5% share of the UK’s share, which would equate to £2bn per year for the Welsh economy.
“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,” Vaughan Gething said.
“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.”
Vaughan Gething said the strategy was part of the Welsh Government’s ambition to create conditions where more people, particularly young people, feel confident about planning their futures in Wales.
He added that Wales already had 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 Wales Space Strategy is focused on growing the potential of current and future developments in the space sector in Wales, including:
- Space launch, training and experience capability at Spaceport Snowdonia at Llanbedr in Gwynedd, and proposals for sea-based launch platform to operate from Port Talbot;
- Strengths in areas such as low earth observation satellite capabilities, including Cardiff-based Space Forge which is developing a reusable manufacturing space satellite. The company plans the launch of its first made-in-Wales satellite in 2023, return by 2024 and relaunch by 2025.
- Satellite technology used to find water on other planets is being trialled in Wales as part of potential opportunities to make Wales’ coal tips safer.
- Test and evaluation of new greener propulsion technologies at existing facilities, including Llanbedr, Aberporth Range in Ceredigion, Radnor Range in Powys and Pendine in Carmarthenshire;
- A cluster of pioneering companies including Airbus Defence & Space, Raytheon, Qinetiq, and Qioptiq – who manufacture 98% of the global supply of space-qualified glass used in satellites and space vehicles;
- A network of research and teaching facilities, including the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult in Newport and AMRC Cymru in Broughton, Flintshire, which support sector research and development across the UK;
- The Wales Academic Space Partnership which is harnessing collaborative academic expertise from several Welsh universities.
Vaughan Gething added: “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.
“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.”
British Astronaut, Tim Peake, said: “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.”
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