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UK Space Agency opening new office in Wales

The UK Space Agency is opening an office in Wales for the first time as it works to support the space sector across the UK.

Above: Tŷ William Morgan House, Cardiff.
Courtesy UKSA

Aligned with the government’s Levelling Up strategy, the expansion will enable the Agency to collaborate more closely with the UK’s thriving space sector, while promoting regional skills and job opportunities to deliver increasingly ambitious missions and capabilities.

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The most recent figures show the Welsh space sector generates £79 million in income a year and employs over 600 people.   

The new office at William Morgan House in Cardiff, is part of a number of changes for the UK Space Agency, which will also open offices in Edinburgh and Leicester and new headquarters at the Harwell Space Cluster in Oxfordshire.

Dr Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency, said: "This is a transformational moment for the UK Space Agency, responding directly to the feedback that the Agency should be embedded in the sector. Our new headquarters, located at the UK’s biggest space cluster in Harwell, will connect to regional offices in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Leicester, helping us recruit space talent from across the nation and deliver the National Space Strategy.  

"Wales has a long-established heritage in aerospace and manufacturing and in recent years we have supported Welsh space companies to develop new and innovative technologies, including Space Forge who built Wales’s first satellite.    

"We have seen a significant rise in space organisations across the Welsh space ecosystem and it’s crucial we nurture their skills and expertise, and connect them with the wider sector, to ensure we continue this journey."

The UK Space Agency is supporting Space Wales to build the Welsh Space Cluster, which includes recently appointing a Welsh Cluster Development Manager.

Last year space research, manufacturing and testing facilities in Wales received a boost thanks to UK Space Agency funding.

Almost £8 million went to Cardiff-based Space Forge for a National Microgravity Research Centre, for advanced material research and production. Snowdonia LLP received £800,000 to develop the Space Technology Test Centre (STTC) at the Snowdonia Space Centre, Llanbedr, Gwynedd, in partnership with Newton Launch Systems Ltd.

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In addition, £10.7 million of UK Space Agency funding went to a team, led by the University of Aberystwyth, to replace a Russian-made instrument on the Rosalind Franklin rover, with the aim of launching to Mars in 2028.  

Welsh Secretary David TC Davies said: "I’m delighted that the UK Space Agency is opening an office in Cardiff to support the fast-growing space sector in Wales. The UK Government has made significant investments in companies like Space Forge in Cardiff and in research programmes at Welsh universities. We have built talent and expertise and it’s great to see support coming to Wales to help the sector grow and develop."

John Whalley, CEO of Space Wales, said: "The opening of the UK Space Agency’s office in Cardiff marks a transformative opportunity for the Welsh space sector. With over 85 space-related organisations across the nation, this not only acts as an opportunity to amplify our successes but also ignite further partnerships with the UK Space Agency to launch the Welsh space sector to new heights."

The UK Space Agency’s new structure will create significant opportunities to build on high-growth areas, such as Earth observation and satellite broadband. It will also help the UK establish early leadership in emerging markets such as in‑orbit spacecraft servicing, active space debris removal and the new lunar economy, enabling us to help forge a greener, smarter and more inclusive sector.

As set out in the Space Industrial Plan, the government is committed to continuing its support for space clusters across the UK and providing the tools needed to drive collaboration between them and catalyse further investment.

The Agency will retain offices in London and Swindon.

 

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