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ЦитатаPeter B. de Selding @pbdes.@Skyrora_Ltd, UK launch startup, test fires upper stage of XL rocket - in Scotland. Earlier firing was in Ukraine. This one used 'ecosene' propellant, based on waste plastic (1,000kg plastic makes 600kg kerosene in 24hrs). Hope for inaugural UK flight in 2022. @spacegovuk4:09 PM · 3 февр. 2020 г.·Twitter Web App
ЦитатаBlack Arrow LaunchesOn the 50th Anniversary of the first successful British rocket launch, the Black Arrow name is reinvigorated as Black Arrow Space Technologies starts up in business.Black Arrow Space Technologies is a new British company developing spaceflight technologies designed to launch satellites into orbit. Black Arrow unique offer is their seaborne launch system - commercial rockets launched from their own Space Ship! This will enable Britain to offer a global service unavailable elsewhere in the world, bypassing many of the issues faced by land launches. Initially, the company aims to launch payloads of up to 500Kg into Polar Low Earth Orbit or 300Kg into Sun Synchronous Orbit. This will support a growing niche in the space market, currently under-served by the international 'access to space' sector. In time, the concept will be developed to enable much larger payloads to be launched to higher altitudes and more trajectories.Black Arrow Space Technologies has negotiated an agreement with a major investor to fully fund the company development activities, up to the completion of the test launch phase of the project, which is anticipated to take between two and three years.Design and development work will take place in the Oxfordshire area, with engine test stands and the ship fleet, including the launch vessel and support ships, based in South Wales. It is anticipated that around 300 high-skilled jobs will be created by the time that commercial launches begin. Initial launches are planned to take place from the Atlantic Ocean, South West of Ireland.
ЦитатаThe U.K. Space Agency Has a Scottish Peat Bog ProblemThe plan for a launchpad, worth tens of millions of pounds, may not survive a community backlash and environmental review.At a traditional cèilidh shindig in the northern Scottish Highlands, my dance partner, a retired Scottish math teacher, suggested I watch the Burt Lancaster movie Local Hero. In between jigs, the kind that require a great deal of spinning, he outlined the plot. An American oil executive journeys to a remote Scottish village to buy out the residents and clear the land for a refinery. Higher and higher dollar figures are thrown around. Plenty of whisky is drunk. The residents must face a difficult decision: Do they roll over and take the money and risk changing the character of their community forever?By the time I watched Local Hero--I highly recommend it--the 1983 movie had been pitched to me a half-dozen more times by people invested in the eerily parallel political fight happening right now on the A'Mhòine peninsula at the northern tip of Scotland. Instead of an oil refinery, the proposal is for a spaceport that would shoot about a dozen satellites a year into polar orbit 300 miles up. At risk fr om this miniature Cape Canaveral is a foggy stretch of protected peat bog that's home to about 500 people, a community of rare birds, and little else. I'd definitely watch that movie.During my visit, the peninsula towns of Tongue, Melness, and Talmine were sleepy and shuttered. In warmer months, the natural sights, including the shallow inlets known as kyles, attract a smattering of tourists driving the North Coast 500, a sort of Scottish Pacific Coast Highway. "On a summer's evening, you'll often see half a dozen cars parked on the Kyle of Tongue with people hoping to see an otter," Mark Avery, an environmental campaigner and writer, told me. That sounded like a party compared with the brutally wet and windy winter I encountered. While I was there, the precarious one-lane roads were lonely, and the expanses of soggy green and brown peat surrounding them looked as wild as if they'd never been discovered. The two main restaurants were closed, and the closest open hotel was in Lairg, about an hour south. This was hardly Cape Canaveral. It was more like, well, remote Scotland. Скрытый текст: And yet in 2018 the U.K. Space Agency selected A'Mhòine as the ideal location for its latest push to enter the crowded field of commercial spaceflight. The Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), an economic and community development agency that represents the peninsula, won the bid for the spaceport, beating out more than 20 other areas in the country. UKSA has given £23.5 million ($28.8 million) to Lockheed Martin Space Systems to build out the site, £5.5 million to Orbex to make the rockets, and £2.5 million to HIE for continued development. In return, the local development agency got an approval fr om Melness Crofters Estate, a group of 56 tenants of small farms on the proposed spaceport site. "We've been involved with HIE along the way--there have been a lot of negotiations," says Dorothy Pritchard, chair of the Melness group. "It's a beautiful area. We didn't want that spoiled." The surrounding communities remain unconvinced that the path to sun-synchronous spaceflight should run through their backyard. At the small sundries shop that doubles as Tongue's post office, one woman shook her head and told me, "It's really divided the community." Advocates say that by 2024 the spaceport will bring as much as £79 million in economic activity to the rapidly depopulating region, whose young people have to head far south to Inverness or Edinburgh to find work. Opponents dismiss the facility as a greedy, shortsighted grab at land that's vulnerable to climate change and a key bulwark against it. The proposed spaceport site comprises 800 acres of Europe's largest peat bog, an ecological system that stores approximately 400 million tons of carbon beneath its surface and plays host to protected fauna, including golden eagles and black- and red-throated divers.The launch-service integration facility, wh ere vehicles will be assembled and prepared for take-off with their cargoes of satellites.Source: Norr/HIEEnvironmental concerns motivated Alistair Gow and John Williams, two retired science teachers who've each lived in the area for more than a decade, to start the Protect A'Mhòine campaign to fight the UKSA development. "A'Mhòine is an important, beautiful, and fragile environment," Gow said via email. "HIE are totally unaware or unable to cope with environmental issues. They believe that having a green roof on a launch-control building is an environmental asset."The retired teachers aren't alone. Also opposing construction is the conservation company Wildland Ltd., controlled by Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen and his wife, Anne. The Povlsens, whose fortune comes from clothing, including the Bestseller, ASOS, and Zalando brands, are the largest private landowners in Scotland, with holdings of 220,000 acres, primarily in the Highlands. Another Povlsen company holds a hunting lease on a section of the proposed spaceport site, according to the regional newspaper, the Press and Journal. "The proposed site lies at the heart of an area of immense natural beauty and environmental value," a Wildland spokesperson wrote in an email. "By focusing our resources on new developments which build on our natural capital, such as scientific research, nature-based tourism, and carbon sequestration, we can work towards a diversified economic proposition founded on something truly unique. This proposal poses a serious threat to that path of economic growth." The conflict intensified last month, when HIE published its first major planning application for the spaceport, which outlined in greater detail its plans to protect the peninsula's character. "The visual impact is fairly minimal," says David Oxley, director of business growth at HIE. "It blends very well into the environment around it." An accompanying environmental impact report concludes that the spaceport could significantly hurt air quality, protected bird populations, and the habitats of otters and water voles. "We've considered very carefully the importance of the environment in everything we're doing," Oxley says, noting that Orbex, the rocketry contractor, intends to recover and reuse parts from its launched craft.The plan for the launch-operations control center is to complement the natural environment.Source: Norr/HIECommunity comments on the planning application closed on March 15; the Highland Council, a regional governing body, will consider them and provide the final approval or rejection of the spaceport. All told, 428 of 549 public comments opposed the construction. Supporters are betting the promised jobs (61 related to the spaceport, and more than 250 for the region) will help safeguard the area more than being left alone would. "We need jobs that are going to retain some young people here," says Pritchard, a retired teacher and lifelong resident. "I've seen the decline over the last 60 or 50 years." In nearby Durness, the primary school wh ere she helped teach 30 kids now enrolls just six. David Macleod, the current chair of the community council, likewise says job needs are urgent, though he maintains his stance on the project is still neutral. "I lived away for a long time," says Macleod, who also was raised in the area. "Most people do have to leave home to work." Another local woman I spoke with, who asked not to be named, put it more bluntly. The most pressing need was employment. The eagles would have to nest someplace else. At least for now, the eagles can stay. The Highland Council's decision isn't expected before April, and the heated opposition may get what it wants by default. Lead contractor Lockheed Martin is reportedly backing a different Scottish site for space development.I hate to spoil it for you, but Local Hero ends with a win for the community, when an older man named Ben, living in a rundown shack on the beach, refuses to sell his land. The oil company offers him bigger plots on more exotic shorelines--Hawaii, Australia, anyplace but his village--but Ben says he doesn't need a new beach. He likes the one he's got. BOTTOM LINE - The regional government will have to weigh intense local opposition, carbon release, and possible habitat loss in making a final decision about the spaceport proposal.
ЦитатаEnvironmental concerns voiced over spaceport planBy Mike MerrittDANISH billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen has blasted Britain's first vertical launch spaceport planned for a remote part of Scotland - warning that the project could be grounded.His company Wildland Ltd issued its final formal objection to the £17.3m scheme, criticising government agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for submitting what it described as a "deeply damaging" application.It also called for an extension for public comments to be allowed, Scottish ministers to intervene and warned of a battle ahead in the Land Court.Last month Wildland issued a holding objection to The Highland Council.At the deadline for comments, it firmed up its protest having commissioned several leading experts - such as Ian Kelly, a chartered private planning consultant with over 43 years' planning experience including in managing and assessing major civil and MOD engineering, nuclear and defence projects.Scotland's largest private landowner, Mr Povlsen and his wife Anne - who last week celebrated the birth of twin girls having lost three children in the Sri Lankan bombings in early 2019. They own estates in the area of the proposed launch site at Melness in Sutherland."Wildland Limited's view is that this application contains significant errors of omission and is incomplete," the objection reads. "We believe that the deadline for initial comments should be extended to allow fuller consideration of these plans."Economic benefit is predicated on multiple 'Launch Service' providers. The application specifies a facility for one. If economic measure is used to justify long term adverse environmental impact, then the application can be no measure of that. The application contains contradictory information to this effect."We question the probity of HIE's role as the applicant, given that this application must surely land on the desk of Scottish Ministers for review. How can the Scottish Government act as judge and jury on such a contentious matter?"The application does not protect and enhance the natural heritage or landscape. Again, we simply do not have a clear picture of the full impact this project will have on the precious habitat surrounding the site, as well as the wider land and sea scape under the flight path.""The conclusion of the independent planning consultant is that the application stands contrary to all relevant policies of the Highland Wide Local Development Plan, and therefore the presumption in law is that the application should be refused."Wildland CEO Tim Kirkwood said: "Quite apart from the significant technical concerns raised in our objection, we fundamentally believe this development is poorly conceived and deeply damaging. The actual environmental damage this will cause to a potential world heritage site, the seas around it, and the islands beyond it, is still unknown. "We simply do not have all the facts. For example, should consent be granted in the face of illegal disturbance of category one protected birds in a yet-to-be legislated 2,500 acre exclusion zone? This is serious stuff."Raising serious concerns about the public expense of this project, Mr Kirkwood added: "We question HIE's involvement when there has been no demonstration of market failure. Our broader fear....is that if the wrong location is backed then the market will move out of Scotland. Period. We can't let that happen."We are also deeply concerned that so much public money has been funnelled into a project that is yet to demonstrate any private sector interest, unlike its counterpart in Shetland which is proving much more palatable to established players in the industry."Ultimately, we anticipate a long and protracted battle in the Land Court as the complicated crofting, fairness and compensation elements of this development are considered - further burdening the public purse and scaring off investment in the industry."We are certain that there is broad scope of legal challenge and ministerial review, should planning approval be granted. However, we must ask; with so much public money at risk and missing information, how can the Scottish Government fairly review an application from their own agency?"We will continue to follow these plans closely."The scheme has attracted over 500 responses. In total more than 400 people have objected with over 110 in favour - but the responses have seen neighbour pitted against neighbour and landowner against landowner. Many of the objections have come from outwith the area.Among the protesters are TV wildlife presenter Chris Packham who said the project was not worth the "destruction" of part of the Flow Country's peat bog.Also objecting is Scotland's leading young environmentalist Finlay Pringle, 12, from Ullapool in Wester Ross - who has been hailed by Mr Packham and campaigner Greta Thunberg.The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has also objected, subject to a raft of conditions not being included in any permission.However nearby Altnaharra Estate has backed the scheme - saying the benefits outweigh any negatives - and warned of the area being controlled by Wildland."Melness and Tongue are especially vulnerable at present due to its expanding control by one major landholding and owner now owning most of the surrounding land and is driving its management as directed by one individual, which in our view is limiting and disturbing the existing local population and its views on the development, and therefore this external proposal is a welcome change in an otherwise limited options area," wrote Peter Bakker on behalf of the estate.The spaceport is earmarked on the Moine Peninsula. Melness Crofters Estate (MCE), who own the earmarked site, and local community councils have backed the scheme."We wanted to ensure that the environment was protected and safety ensured," wrote Dorothy Pritchard, chairperson of MCE."There is a balance to be struck between environmental issues versus employment; MCE negotiated hard to ensure that our land is protected now and in the future."MCE, which will receive income from the spaceport, says funding will go back into the "whole community" and it intended to set-up a charitable fund to help local projects.It said protesters who had run a "sustained, vociferous campaign" had "misrepresented" the spaceport and the intentions of MCE, whose members had been subject to abuse.In time, up to 12 launches a year could be made from Sutherland, carrying small, commercial satellites that will typically be used for Earth observation.If the application is approved, construction on Europe's first vertical launch site could begin later this year, with launches starting as early as 2022.