The UK government has announced plans that clear another hurdle toward Wales having its very own fully operational space port.

Developed in association with the UK Space Agency and the Civil Aviation Authority, new regulations laid in parliament on Monday have given the green light to the launching of rockets and satellites from Welsh soil for the first time.

Ministers said the first UK launches could take place as early as next year.

Alongside the proposed spaceport at Gwynedd's Llanbedr Airfield, in Snowdonia National Park, other potential launch sites have been given the go-ahead in England and Scotland.

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The UK's transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said the tabling of the new regulations marked "a pivotal moment for our spaceflight ambitions".

He added: "Since the start of the spaceflight programme in 2017, we have been clear that we want to be the first country to launch into orbit from Europe.”

Science Minister Amanda Solloway welcomed "another crucial milestone that will enable the first launches from British soil in 2022 and make UK commercial spaceflight a reality”.

As of last year, the commercial space business employed 42,000 people across the UK and generated an income of almost £15bn annually.

The UK government said previously the spaceport plans would create new high-skilled jobs in science and engineering.