|Satellite Image of Wales|
Author NASALicdence Public domain Source Wikimedia Commons
On Boxing Day 2021, The Observer published an article by Robin McKie entitled The Great British Race to Space. It featured efforts by companies operating in different parts of the United Kingdom using different technologies to launch the first satellite into low earth orbit from British soil. One of those companies is B2Space Ltd. which plans to launch a satellite bearing rocket from a high altitude helium balloon. B2Space appears to be based in Newport and operates in Eyrri in Northwest Wales.
B2Space is just one of a growing number of space businesses in Wales. Space Wales maintains a "Capability Matrix" of businesses in the sector. Linking those businesses to resources in the universities, government and international agencies, Space Wales is developing a strategy for the sector. According to the organizers of the UK Space Conference at Newport, Wales saw a 34% increase in the number of organizations and a 40% increase in employment in that sector between 2015 and 2019 albeit from an admittedly small base (see The Space Sector in Wales is growing).
The legislation that has made this growth possible has been the Space Industry Act 2018 which I discussed in Commercial Exploitation of Space: Space Industry Act 2018 on 10 April 2018. I outlined the licensing regime in Space Industry - Licensing Spaceports the next day. The new technologies developed by the Welsh space industry will require legal protection and I discussed those issues in The Role of Intellectual Property in Space Commerce on 19 July 2019 in NIPC Cornwall. Although I had in mind the businesses that have mushroomed around Newquay airport in Cornwall the issues mentioned in the article apply equally to the businesses around Llanbedr and elsewhere in Wales.
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