As Spaceport Cornwall edges toward the first UK launch from British soil this summer, Vaughan Gething, Wales' economy minister, will be making a tour of sites in Wales following the government's Space Strategy launch earlier this year. 

The strategy, which aims to help create more well-paid, highly skilled jobs in the industry for the future, has the ultimate aim of placing Wales at the forefront of the global space sector.

The minister said: "The space sector provides exciting opportunities for the next generation of engineers, scientists, technologists, and mathematicians.  These are jobs that will help transform our economy, helping to deliver the long-term economic prosperity our country needs to have a successful future."

With a visit to Newport-based B2Space with their environmentally-friendly "Rockoon" launcher based on the use of stratospheric balloons, plus a visit to SmallSpark Space Systems in Cardiff, founded by a former Cardiff University student with the premise of developing hybrid rocket technology, the minister will also visit Space Forge, the business that will see their satellite launched from Newquay-based Spaceport Cornwall later this year. 

READ MORE:

The satellite will launch from Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit with Space Forge having already secured a further launch in 2023, but this time with a returnable and reusable satellite. 

Unlike conventional "straight up" rockets, Virgin Orbit's approach is to 'air-launch' the rocket, which will be carried up to the upper atmosphere by a converted Boeing 747-400.  The Boeing, (nicknamed 'Cosmic Girl'), will then release the rocket which will then power itself into space and deliver the satellite into orbit.

Gething added: "Wales has a lot to offer the UK Space Sector, including infrastructure for test and evaluation of new technologies at Llanbedr Airfield, the segregated airspace off the West Wales coasts and test ranges at Pendine and Radnor."

The UK Space Agency has confirmed the sites of seven spaceports or 'hubs' across the UK, three in Scotland, one in the Shetland Islands, two in England, and one in Wales.

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.