Scotland is best place for UK spaceport says BNSC study

by | Feb 10, 2010 | Seradata News | 2 comments

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Scotland’s Lossiemouth is the best place for a UK spaceport for launching satellites by rocket and by air-launch according to the British National Space Centre (BNSC), which is expected to become a space agency later this year

David Williams, director general for the BNSC, told Hyperbola about the study’s conclusion at the 10 February publication event of the Space innovation and growth team report. Within the report’s 16 recommendations it proposes changes to the UK Outer Space Act – the UK’s domestic law to comply with the cold war-era outer space treaties its ratified – to help space tourism operators

The BNSC study examined the UK’s coastline for likely launch sites and due to launch system reliability and a need for a clear airspace Williams says that Lossiemouth is the best option. Due to its northerly location it also has advantages for satellites that are to be placed in a polar orbit

Lossiemouth is already the location of a Royal Air Force base. Because of the RAF’s base long runway Virgin Galactic has expressed interest in operating from there. The spaceline is also interested in launching micro satellites using its WhiteKnight Two carrier aircraft and an expendable rocket

UK space minister Lord Paul Drayson of Kensington announced that the BNSC would become a space agency last December Hyperbola understands that the sites that came a close second to Lossiemouth are Kinloss and Macrihanish. Lossiemouth faired better because its near mountains that shield it from heavier rain fall

The study found that launching eastward from further south down the UK North Sea coast could endanger oil rigs from falling first stages. The study also examined the UK’s former Thor ICBM bases

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