North West Wales

Welsh spaceport site speculation

Image caption Artist's concept: Virgin Galactic plans to launch satellites as well as people into space

Reports suggest a site in Wales features on a list of options for a UK 'spaceport' base, alongside six in Scotland and one in England.

Ministers want to establish the UK spaceport by 2018 - the first of its kind outside of the US.

An official announcement is expected on preferred locations later in the week.

However, the Mail on Sunday newspaper plumps for Llanbedr airfield near Harlech as a potential site.

For ministers and the space industry, the major interest in a UK spaceport is as a facility to enable satellite launches, but hopefully it would also become a centre for the new tourism initiatives from specialist operators such as Virgin Galactic and XCor.

The announcement on the likely options is expected to be made at the Farnborough Airshow.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Our world-leading and ambitious space sector is thriving.

"This week we will announce the next steps for this country's space race, outlining how we will take one giant leap towards establishing the first British spaceport by 2018 - making the UK the place for space."

Image caption Media sources on Sunday suggested Wales had one potential site, Scotland has six, and Cornwall hosts the English possible location

A spokesperson for the UK's Department for Business, Innovation & Skills said it could not comment on press speculation ahead of Tuesday's official announcement.

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