Wales with Big Plans to Host a Sustainable UK Spaceport11th Mar 2022
Earlier in February, representatives of the Welsh Government announced the plan to boost its space industry sector inclusively through the new Snowdonia Spaceport. Steps towards becoming the first sustainable nation involved in space exploration are also included in the initiative.
A Sustainable Space Nation is the name of the program that details future locations for spaceports, as well as plans for using reusable technology or greener fuels. It’s perfect timing as the UK spaceport-related activity tripled since 2010 to reach £14.8 billion in 2021. The country hopes to account for 5% of the UK’s space market by 2040, as declared by Vaughan Gething, Economy Minister. This could bring an economic boost of £2 billion per year for Wales.
Plans for New UK Spaceport Locations
Besides a greener approach to space exploration, Wales intends to build the Snowdonia Spaceport on the location of the disbanded Llanbedr airfield. The plans include a potential sea-based launch platform that will be developed in Port Talbot.
To sustain research for greener fuels and alternatives, the Powys, Pending, and Ceredigion military testing facilities in Carmarthenshire are involved. Minister Gething highlighted that the entire Wales space strategy focuses on sustainability.
Major Tech Companies from Wales Involved
Both for the plans to develop the new UK spaceport and research greener fuels and ways to explore space without harming the planet, the tech companies in Wales play a big part. One great example comes from Qioptiq, which produces around 98% of the glass components used for space exploration.
B2Space and Space Forge, both located near Newport, are exploring the possibility of partially floating certain items and then adding propulsion to get them off the ground. If new means are found, it could lead to a significant save in fuel consumption for the actual launch, and it could lead to other discoveries.
One thing is certain, all the plans that Wales has for the future of its space industry, including the Snowdonia Spaceport, are part of the country’s economic plan for the next 20-30 years.