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A Spaceport for Britain – launching from the United Kingdom


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A discussion of the practicality of orbital launch from the UK mainland, by Rick Newlands. Uploaded with permission, thanks to Griffith Ingram

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A Spaceport for Britain – launching from the United Kingdom

  1. 1. A Spaceport For Britain – Launching From The United Kingdom. By Rick Newlands Presented By Griffith Ingram
  2. 2. Newspace Companies <ul><li>Xerus </li></ul><ul><li>Falcon </li></ul><ul><li>XP Aerospace </li></ul><ul><li>EADS Astrium </li></ul><ul><li>Blue Origin </li></ul><ul><li>SpaceX </li></ul><ul><li>XCOR Aerospace </li></ul><ul><li>Masten Space Systems </li></ul><ul><li>Orbital Sciences Corporation </li></ul><ul><li>Interorbital Systems </li></ul>
  3. 3. Spaceports – United States
  4. 4. Spaceports – Rest Of World <ul><li>United Arab Emirates – Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah (in negotiation) </li></ul><ul><li>Russia - Baikonur Spaceport </li></ul><ul><li>Sweden – Kiruna; also planning to use Esrange as a spaceport, flying Virgin Galactic SS2 flights in 2012 </li></ul><ul><li>Singapore (in negotiation) </li></ul><ul><li>Australia - Woomera is closed for business ! </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why Not Britain? <ul><li>Technical, </li></ul><ul><li>Geographical, </li></ul><ul><li>Legislative hurdles to be overcome? </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Isle of Man – Attempting to Encourage Space Industry By: <ul><li>Setting a Zero Rate of Corporate Income Tax for Space-related Activities </li></ul><ul><li>Appointing a Director of Space Commerce Specifically to Support the Growth of the Space Industry </li></ul>
  7. 7. Space Companies on Isle of Man: <ul><li>Inmarsat </li></ul><ul><li>Boeing </li></ul><ul><li>Sea Launch </li></ul><ul><li>Loral </li></ul><ul><li>SES Global (the world’s largest satellite operator) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Disadvantages of Isle of Man <ul><li>Both the sea around the Isle of Man, and the airspace above it, are very busy </li></ul><ul><li>Island is rather land-locked; no clear shot across open ocean to drop spent stages into, or for debris to fall into if it all goes wrong. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Why not UK Mainland? <ul><li>Firing east from the UK mainland to chase the International Space Station in its highly inclined orbit will drop spent stages on Europe </li></ul><ul><li>Britain is too far from the equator to get into equatorial orbits such as geosynchronous orbit </li></ul>
  10. 10. Ascension Island
  11. 11. Dounreay
  12. 12. Sun-Synchronous Orbit - 1
  13. 13. Sun-Synchronous Orbit - 2
  14. 14. The Faroe Islands
  15. 15. Iceland
  16. 16. Icelandic Fisheries
  17. 17. Trajectory
  18. 18. Greenland
  19. 19. Greenland National Park
  20. 20. Launch Overflight
  21. 21. Jan Mayen Island
  22. 22. Svalbard Islands
  23. 23. Oilrigs <ul><li>North sea is riddled with oilrigs </li></ul><ul><li>The chances of a rocket falling on a ship or oilrig are slim, but it would make an awful mess if it did </li></ul><ul><li>A safety zone of an area of 0.5 Km radius is established around all offshore oil and gas installations which project above the sea. It is an offence (under section 23 of the Petroleum Act 1987) to enter a safety zone except under special circumstances. So a rocket falling vertically on it would be sure to get fined </li></ul>
  24. 24. Other Items to Avoid - Ships <ul><li>Ships </li></ul><ul><li>           Obviously, these move around. The sea around the North coast of Scotland is quite busy (although nothing in comparison to the North Sea). For example, 400 oil tankers and cargo vessels a month (13 a day) pass along the Minch (the water between the Outer Hebrides and the Scottish Mainland). </li></ul><ul><li>           There are ways of tracking some of the bigger ships via websites which are updated regularly.These give the GPS position of each ship. The official body we would have to contact are the Maritime and Coastguard Agency who are responsible for shipping safety. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  25. 25. Other Items to Avoid - Aircraft <ul><li>           Most of the aircraft that might be at risk from the first stage on either trajectory will be flying across the Atlantic to and from the UK and Northern Europe, and so will be following the North Atlantic Tracks (NAT tracks) . These are a series of airways that start at set fixed locations ‘in mid air’ off the coast of Europe and America, and are spaced every degree of lat and long. Whilst there are numerous starting points, only five or so tracks are active on any given day, dependant on the weather and time of year. For example, aircraft flying from America to Europe benefit from intercepting the Jet Stream, a corridor of air travelling at 100 mph. The Nat tracks are therefore aimed to intercept the Jet Stream.The NAT tracks help our situation, because once we’ve downloaded the day’s tracks, we can pinpoint the trajectory of the majority of aircraft; they don’t deviate from the tracks by more than 0.5 Nautical miles. Recently, the Strategic Lateral Offset Procedure (SLOP) allows aircraft to fly at one or two nautical miles laterally off of the track centreline, but again, this is a very small deviation. </li></ul><ul><li>           The formal body we would have to contact are Shanwick, the combined Air Traffic Control of Shannon and Prestwick. </li></ul><ul><li>           Stornoway airport on the Outer Hebrides is on a major route to one of the track starting points; this is near to the proposed launch site. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Other Problems <ul><li>Other Problems </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>          One other notorious aspect of the North of Scotland is the weather. The aptly named Cape Wrath is up there, it’s just awful in the winter. </li></ul><ul><li>          Another argument for lobbing from an aircraft is that the launch can occur above the layer of the atmosphere known as the Troposphere. The Trop is where the weather is, but during the winter it only extends up to about 30,000 feet, so launch at 50,000 feet and you’re well out of it. </li></ul>