Snowdonia satellite launch pad in UK could create 93 jobs


UK-based Snowdonia Aerospace Centre (SAC) and B2Space are expecting to create more than 93 specialist jobs at Llanbedr airfield in Gwynedd, Wales, by 2020.

Positions are expected to be created from the proposed Vertical Small Satellite Launch Project at Llanbedr.

A joint effort between SAC and B2Space, the project has been supported by QinetiQ and the Welsh Government, and seeks to establish local launch capabilities for the small and microsatellite sector.

The satellites are to be launched from a stratospheric balloon with a self-operative platform. A three-stage rocket will then deliver the satellites to the destined orbits.

“By 2022, based on 30 launches per year, we expect the projected workforce to be in the region of 93."

B2Space co-founder and technical director Valentin Canales said: “We expect to subcontract the structural components, as well as equipment and mechanisms, which will bring many opportunities to the wider supply chain.

“Current market estimations expect to achieve 30 launches per year by 2022, giving a yearly spend of around £60m a year in Wales and for the UK supply chain.

“By 2022, based on 30 launches per year, we expect the projected workforce to be in the region of 93.

"This is the number of direct jobs we anticipate will be created by B2Space but the number of indirect jobs created could be up to ten times higher, for example, jobs created by suppliers, new companies, housing in the area, catering and so on.”

The SAC and B2Space collaboration has also placed bids for up to £10m in funding to develop the Llanbedr field into a small satellite launch site.

When fully developed, the site will be able to provide an affordable launching system for satellites weighing less than 150kg.