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WATCH: First balloon test to see viability of satellite launches in Wales

The first balloon launch test has taken place at SAC in the Snowdonia Enterprise Zone, as B2Space uses the facilities and infrastructure at Llanbedr to collect key data that will contribute to analysing the viability of B2Space operations in the area’s bid to create a spaceport.

B2Space plans to increase the number of trials, collecting more data for further safety and operations analysis, necessary to achieve the regulatory requirements both for Llanbedr Spaceport and for B2Space as a launch operator.

Victor Montero, co-founder and business director of B2Space said:

“This was a very successful launch, thanks to the collaboration with Snowdonia Aerospace Centre. The balloon was launched from Llanbedr airfield and reached 37.5km of altitude, facing temperatures up to -45 degrees Celsius. The trajectory predictions were perfect, and the data collected very useful.”

Together, B2Space and SAC are following a development plan that will create up to 100 jobs when B2Space operations are fully set up. Lee Paul, CEO of SAC said:

“The development of B2Space low cost satellite launch capabilities in Wales has the potential to create a technology cluster in the area, and will open new opportunities of growth; this is one of the reasons we are supporting the start of operations from the remote Llanbedr airfield, whose USP is a segregated airspace.”

B2Space is looking to be the first company to provide consistent and reliable low-cost access for small satellites. The B2Space system itself is an improvement on an original design first proposed in the 1950s with new developments in micro-electronics and designs making the concept now viable. The system comprises a stratospheric balloon with a self-operative platform from which the launcher is deployed.

Wales is already a centre of excellence for aerospace manufacturing and maintenance, repair and overhaul. Over 160 companies employ in excess of 23,000 people. It was estimated that, if successful, the spaceport, would generate £4.2m of income and create around 170 jobs.