North West Wales

Llanbedr airfield chosen as possible base for spaceport

A site in Gwynedd has been selected as possible location for a UK spaceport base.

Llanbedr airfield near Harlech has been chosen by the UK government alongside six in Scotland and one in England to launch commercial flights from 2018.

The announcement was made at the Farnborough Air Show by Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill on Tuesday.

Other sites selected included Campbeltown Airport and Newquay Cornwall Airport.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said space was "big business" for the UK and already contributed £11.3bn to the economy each year.

"That's why it's important for us to prepare the UK for new launcher technology and take steps towards meeting our ambition of establishing the first British spaceport by 2018," he said.

"Exploring the opportunities that commercial spaceflight presents, and potentially making strategic investments in this area, will support the growth of this thriving industry and underpin the economy of tomorrow, making the UK the place for space."

Mr Goodwill added: "In order to lead the way on commercial spaceflight, we will need to establish a spaceport that enables us to operate regular flights."

The eight shortlisted coastal locations included:

  • Campbeltown Airport, Scotland
  • Glasgow Prestwick Airport, Scotland
  • Llanbedr Airport, Wales
  • Newquay Cornwall Airport, England
  • Kinloss Barracks, Scotland
  • RAF Leuchars, Scotland
  • RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland
  • Stornorway Airport, Scotland

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said if Llanbedr was chosen it would provide a "transformational opportunity" for Wales as a whole.

"Wales has existing strengths in space technology and the spaceport could serve to further embed and grow this technology base as part of the UK's vision for the sector," she added.

Image copyright virgin galactic
Image caption An artist's impression of Virgin Galactic plans to launch satellites as well as people into space

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