UK to build spaceport in Scotland

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Big Mac
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UK to build spaceport in Scotland

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:46 pm

This story is running on the BBC: Lift-off for Scotland: Sutherland to host first UK spaceport:
Jonathan Amos at the BBC wrote:A remote, boggy stretch of land on the north coast of Scotland is set to become the UK's first spaceport.

The A'Mhoine Peninsula in Sutherland has been chosen as the most suitable place from which to launch rockets vertically to put satellites in orbit.

The UK Space Agency is giving Highlands and Islands Enterprise £2.5m towards the development of the facility.

HIE will work closely with a consortium that includes the American aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.

The goal would be to have launches as early as possible in the 2020s.
  • Small rockets herald new wave
  • UK satellite makes HD movies of Earth
The Scotland money is part of a package of grants to foster UK launch capability that was announced by Business Secretary Greg Clark at the Farnborough International Air Show.

He told the event: "We are one of the best countries in the world for the research, development, manufacturing and application of satellites - big and small. And when we see the expansion that is taking place, and the requirement that these satellites need to be launched into orbit - there is an obvious opportunity here for the UK and it must be grasped."
There is more over there.

As well at the vertical spaceport in Scotland (for rockets), it looks like there are plans for a horizontal spaceport in Cornwall (for space planes).

Does anyone do any roleplaying in a near-future science fiction campaign setting? Did the designer of your game predict spaceports in Scotland and England?
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Re: UK to build spaceport in Scotland

Post by Havard » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:31 pm

Awesome! :)
Does anyone do any roleplaying in a near-future science fiction campaign setting? Did the designer of your game predict spaceports in Scotland and England?
Not that I can think of. I think most sci fi settings assume space ports are close to the equator.

I once ran a homebrew GURPS game set in a cyberpunk-ish version of London, but the topic of space travel never came up as far as I can remember.

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Re: UK to build spaceport in Scotland

Post by Coronoides » Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:11 pm

I know most spaceports are built near the equator for physics reasons. Maybe it’s better for pole to pole military orbits? The seed of the Second British Empire?
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Re: UK to build spaceport in Scotland

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:40 pm

Havard wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:31 pm
Awesome! :)
Does anyone do any roleplaying in a near-future science fiction campaign setting? Did the designer of your game predict spaceports in Scotland and England?
Not that I can think of. I think most sci fi settings assume space ports are close to the equator.
...and...
Coronoides wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:11 pm
I know most spaceports are built near the equator for physics reasons. Maybe it’s better for pole to pole military orbits? The seed of the Second British Empire?
Coronoides is right. The Scottish spaceport is going to be used to launch rockets into polar orbit. That might help with things like GPS satellites, where you don't want them to orbit around the equator.

The second proposed spaceport (in Cornwall) would be used for rocket planes that are dropped off of the bottom of Jumbo Jets operated by Virgin Galactic. So that would either be equatorial orbit or rich tourists flying up into a suborbital path, just so they can claim to be astronauts. The exact direction might not be important if it was a Spaceship One thing. ;)

The other possibility with rocket planes is that somebody could send rocket planes from the UK to Australia, have them drop off a payload on the high point of the journey and you would get a bunch of space tourists that could have a holiday on the other side of the world and come back saying that they had helped fund whatever space project went up with them. :)

Either way, I think we are getting close to the sort of era depicted in the cult BBC TV show Star Cops. :)
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Re: UK to build spaceport in Scotland

Post by shesheyan » Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:29 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:40 pm
The other possibility with rocket planes is that somebody could send rocket planes from the UK to Australia, have them drop off a payload on the high point of the journey and you would get a bunch of space tourists that could have a holiday on the other side of the world and come back saying that they had helped fund whatever space project went up with them. :)

Either way, I think we are getting close to the sort of era depicted in the cult BBC TV show Star Cops. :)
The planet will become even «smaller» if they manage that. If people could travel to Australia, from Eastern Canada, in under 6 hours it would be a great advancement. 13-14 hours flights are simply unhealthy.
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Re: UK to build spaceport in Scotland

Post by Coronoides » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:20 am

shesheyan wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:29 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:40 pm
The other possibility with rocket planes is that somebody could send rocket planes from the UK to Australia, have them drop off a payload on the high point of the journey and you would get a bunch of space tourists that could have a holiday on the other side of the world and come back saying that they had helped fund whatever space project went up with them. :)

Either way, I think we are getting close to the sort of era depicted in the cult BBC TV show Star Cops. :)
The planet will become even «smaller» if they manage that. If people could travel to Australia, from Eastern Canada, in under 6 hours it would be a great advancement. 13-14 hours flights are simply unhealthy.
I left the UK in 1971, I returned for 2 months in 1994, and for 3 days last year. If there were rocket planes with cattle-class my reels might see me more often.
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Re: UK to build spaceport in Scotland

Post by Coronoides » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:22 am

Oh why is pole to pole military? Well one orbit can spy or bombard any nation on Earth. As featured in the Starship Troopers novel.
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Re: UK to build spaceport in Scotland

Post by Morfie » Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:20 am

13-14 hours flights are simply unhealthy.
The longest non-stop flights are up to 18-19 hours.
The longest direct flight (with a stop to refuel/change planes) is around the 24 hour mark. If I ever came to a Piazza Meetup in London I would be on this flight!

Sure beats the pre-flight days where a ship ride could take months.

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Re: UK to build spaceport in Scotland

Post by Big Mac » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:59 pm

Coronoides wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:22 am
Oh why is pole to pole military? Well one orbit can spy or bombard any nation on Earth. As featured in the Starship Troopers novel.
Polar orbits are not only military.

GPS satellites orbit over the poles...or in inclined orbits anyway. And there was talk of a European rival system to the US GPS.

I bet that British Telecom would have liked to have had a large set of high capacity satellites for sat phones.
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Re: UK to build spaceport in Scotland

Post by Coronoides » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:45 am

Morfie wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:20 am
13-14 hours flights are simply unhealthy.
The longest non-stop flights are up to 18-19 hours.
The longest direct flight (with a stop to refuel/change planes) is around the 24 hour mark. If I ever came to a Piazza Meetup in London I would be on this flight!

Sure beats the pre-flight days where a ship ride could take months.
Americans and Europeans are such babies about long-haul flights. When I fly for work 13 hours is a short flight.
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Re: UK to build spaceport in Scotland

Post by Angel Tarragon » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:14 pm

Exciting! Hopefully this will be the start of the second space race.

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Re: UK to build spaceport in Scotland

Post by shesheyan » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:50 pm

Coronoides wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:45 am
Morfie wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:20 am
13-14 hours flights are simply unhealthy.
The longest non-stop flights are up to 18-19 hours.
The longest direct flight (with a stop to refuel/change planes) is around the 24 hour mark. If I ever came to a Piazza Meetup in London I would be on this flight!

Sure beats the pre-flight days where a ship ride could take months.
Americans and Europeans are such babies about long-haul flights. When I fly for work 13 hours is a short flight.
Well, being paid to fly does make the experience more palatable... I'm speaking from a tourist point of view. :lol:
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Re: UK to build spaceport in Scotland

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sat Jul 21, 2018 4:12 am

shesheyan wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:50 pm
Well, being paid to fly does make the experience more palatable... I'm speaking from a tourist point of view. :lol:
This is why we need cryosleep.

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Re: UK to build spaceport in Scotland

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:38 pm

Coronoides wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:45 am
Morfie wrote:
Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:20 am
13-14 hours flights are simply unhealthy.
The longest non-stop flights are up to 18-19 hours.
The longest direct flight (with a stop to refuel/change planes) is around the 24 hour mark. If I ever came to a Piazza Meetup in London I would be on this flight!

Sure beats the pre-flight days where a ship ride could take months.
Americans and Europeans are such babies about long-haul flights. When I fly for work 13 hours is a short flight.
Well DVT is a real risk. If people take precautions then long-haul flights are fine, but do the airlines make sure people are avoiding DVT or do they just leave passengers to look after themselves.

If you look at astronaut training, they do put a lot more effort into making sure passengers are healthy enough to survive the journey. I'm guessing that if the second spaceport (that Virgin Galactic might be building) goes live, they would actually be rejecting unhealthy people who want to book a low earth orbit ballistic flight from the UK to Australia.

So some people might be forced to go via the long-haul flights even if they can afford a rocket plane.
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