back to article Scotland, now is your time… to launch Brexit Britain into SPAAAACE!

During a third reading of the draft bill for space industries at the House of Lords yesterday, peers debated limiting the British government's power and also plumped for Scotland as the venue for a UK spaceport. As part of the government's 2020 space push, the bill is designed to give legal certainty to industry so it can …

  1. Matthew Smith

    Already exists

    There is already a facility at Faslane that is quite capable of launching objects into space. For some reason Holyrood keeps trying to shut it down.

  2. Steve K Silver badge
    Boffin

    Isn't Scotland (at least currently...) a little too far from the Equator for launches to be efficient/economical/competitive?

    1. Vulch

      The plan is to run sub-orbital stuff like the Virgin Galactic Spaceship 2s out of wherever is chosen rather than orbital things.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        sub-orbital stuff like the Virgin Galactic Spaceship

        So a once in a lifetime ultimate luxury holiday trip for the worlds global ultra rich 0.01% -ers, and the obvious place to base it is Prestwick ?

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: ultra rich 0.01%

          With a Trump Hotel just down the road, is there any chance we can get him to stand right by the rocket for a selfie as it takes off?

          After the re-tweets today, his time in the oval office has to be coming to an end? Please...

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          and the obvious place to base it is Prestwick

          Well - it benefits the local area economy too - think about how much wealth can be extracted from those who don't make it all the way to the spaceport..

        3. Gobhicks

          ... and the obvious place to base it is Prestwick ?

          The ultra-rich fly in and out of Prestwick all the time for golf at nearby Royal Troon. Two birds... just sayin'

    2. GBE

      They're going to move it.

      Isn't Scotland (at least currently...) a little too far from the Equator [...]?

      Yes, but they're going to move it as part of the solar-power and tourist industry revitalization effort.

      Kilt's make a bit more sense in warmer climes as well.

      1. iron Silver badge

        @GBE Re: They're going to move it.

        "Kilt's make a bit more sense in warmer climes as well."

        Clearly you have never worn one. You might think that your tackle would be cold in the winter but with a decent kilt being 6 - 8 yards of wool with a weight of up to 16 oz / yard they keep you very warm.

        1. graeme leggett

          Re: @GBE They're going to move it.

          Having held a kilt for my friend one time, I should think it's the effort of lugging it around that keeps you warm.

          1. BongoJoe

            Re: @GBE They're going to move it.

            Having held a kilt for my friend one time

            Why? What on earth was he doing at the time that required someone to hold his kilt for him?

            1. graeme leggett

              Re: @GBE They're going to move it.

              "What on earth was he doing at the time that required someone to hold his kilt for him"

              For the record. He had hired it for my wedding and I took it down off hook it was hanging on to pass it to him. Holding it out at arms length was like that battery trial in the early Worlds Strongest Man competitions.

        2. Pedigree-Pete
          Thumb Up

          Re: @GBE They're going to move it.

          @iron. Have an upvote. One of the few occations I had to wear a kilt was a wedding in Southport, Lancs in the summer. It was very far from cool. PP

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They're going to move it.

        "Kilt's make a bit more sense in warmer climes as well."

        Plus when global warming really kicks in, 66m of sea level rise won't impact so badly in Scotland. And with a few degrees of temperature rise it might actually be pleasant to visit!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They're going to move it.

        No they don't, as you're pretty damn warm in a kilt and it's ideal for cold climates.

        Hence why it's a part of Scottish history.

        1. Chris Miller

          Re: They're going to move it.

          Hence why it's a part of Scottish history.

          Dating back all the way to Queen Victoria. Highlanders wore plaids not kilts.

          1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

            Re: They're going to move it.

            > Highlanders wore plaids not kilts.

            And that's why they're not dead men?

            (Too cryptic? Blame the subversive revolt against the Motion Picture Production Code...)

          2. Roj Blake Silver badge

            Re: Highlanders wore plaids not kilts.

            Not according to the history documentary "Carry On Up the Khyber" they don't.

      4. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: They're going to move it.

        "Kilt's make a bit more sense in warmer climes as well."

        especially when you're a gynecologist on his lunch hour

        (obligatory monty python humor)

    3. JohnG Silver badge

      You need a launch site close to the equator for geostationary satellites or others that need to follow an equatorial orbit. For polar orbiting satellites, a launch site with a patch of sea to the north (or south) would be adequate.

    4. warhol

      Prestwick, being a Ryanair 'destination', shall henceforth be rechristened 'Spacegate Equatorial Ayr (North)'. Good choice IMO, with a ready supply of experienced space cadets on the doorstep.

    5. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Ascension

      As Scotland is far from the equator, wouldn't it be nice if we owned an island close to the equator, in the middle of an ocean (handy if anything goes wrong) and with a catchy name that means "going up"...

    6. Ken 16 Silver badge

      stop injecting your logic into a political debate

      Moving the Space Port to Cornwall won't make any measurable difference. Putting it in the Caribbean would help but ruin the logistics and leave it exposed to worse weather than Scotland some of the time. Maybe the control rooms could be in contact centres near Glasgow though?

    7. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Isn't Scotland (at least currently...) a little too far from the Equator for launches to be efficient/economical/competitive?

      Don't be silly and bring mere physics and orbital mechanics in! After all, this being a political process, making sure that votes are bought in is *far* more important..

  3. Dave Pickles

    Prestwick??

    That's a long way North of the equator, so a rocket won't get much assistance from the Earth's rotation. And if anything were to go wrong, Fiery Death and Destruction would rain down on Southern Scotland, Denmark, Germany and points East.

    1. seven of five
      Joke

      Re: Prestwick??

      "Fiery Death and Destruction would rain down on Southern Scotland, Denmark, Germany and points East."

      You make that sound like it is a bad thing.

      1. Streaker1506

        Re: Prestwick??

        OI!!

        I live across the Clyde from Spaceport Prestwick and certainly don't want it polluting around here.

        Scotland has already had 2 Spaceports on the Island of Todday and Benbecula. (tips hat to Compton McKenzie for the former and UK Gov for the latter.

        S

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Prestwick??

        Move it to Cornwall and you could rain fiery death and destruction on the French. I like the Danes.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Prestwick??

          Machrihanish (Campbeltown) is not mentioned, but it already has a bigger USAF built runway, and is more remote. And being an airport, remoteness is not an access problem.

          However, depending on the next referendum, it may end up as a Baikonur style lease.

          Other options, Woomera is being developed again, and also Ascension Island has an appropriate name and location.

    2. RosslynDad

      Re: Prestwick??

      You're right if they were targeting an equatorial orbit but I would expect they'd be going for a polar orbit which would have only sparsely populated areas under it during the fiery phase. It's a bit like Vandenberg in California compared to Kennedy.

      1. Daedalus Silver badge

        Re: Prestwick??

        Polar orbits are for Earth survey satellites and military stuff. To go anywhere else you want to start as close to the equator as possible.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Prestwick??

        which would have only sparsely populated areas under it during the fiery phase

        Specifically Glasgow if you launch north and Wales if you launch south

    3. Naselus

      Re: Prestwick??

      You're looking at it wrong. Yes, physics says that the best place for a space port is nearest to the equator, but politics says that the best place is the most marginal constituency. And the SNP majority in Ayreshire is only 1200.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Prestwick??

        "but politics says that the best place is the most marginal constituency."

        A cast iron law of British politics. Site capital project in a place that suits you, the politician. An example from bloody years ago : In the 60's it was decided to move the Royal Mint out of London. They decided, out of many options, to move to south wales. The chancellor of the exchequer at the time(who made the decision), Jim Callaghan. An MP from south wales.

    4. Velv Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Prestwick??

      Can you imagine the sales pitch to top American businessmen*.

      Launch from the US mainland in a suborbital craft and be on Turnberry in under an hour. Or Troon. A short helicopter ride to Muirfield, St Andrews, Carnoustie or one of a dozen other "top" courses.

      *there may be some businesswomen who play golf, but let's face it, most of the top business wankers are men.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Prestwick??

      Maybe it's metaphorical, there are ways of getting into space without even leaving the ground man.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Prestwick??

      "And if anything were to go wrong, Fiery Death and Destruction would rain down on Southern Scotland,"

      So a few tens of millions worth of landscape improvements for free if it hits a populated area. Bonus.

    7. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Re: Prestwick??

      As others have said, Prestwick is pretty well placed for lobbing stuff into high inclination or polar orbits, but its got 9000 ft and 6000 ft runways. This also makes it an excellent place for space plane operations, such as Virgin Galactic's White KnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo for starters, followed by proper workhorses with orbital capability like Reaction Engines' Skylon and Bristol Spaceplanes Ascender (assuming they're still in existence: last news update was in 2015).

      By comparison Campbeltown and Newquay have just a single 8000ft runway. Stornoway has 6600ft and 3200ft. LLanbedr has 7000ft and 5000ft. Newquay and the Stornoway main runway both look to be rather crosswind for prevailing UK winds. IOW Campbeltown and Newquay have long enough runways even if they are rather crosswind but LLanbedr and Stornoway look rather short for serious spaceplane development: longer is better when you're trying to land something with not much wing and a correspondingly high touchdown speed.

  4. deconstructionist

    we already got one

    It is called hollyrood , full o' space cadets, rockets and launch pads and there is enough hot air tae float a balloon tae mars.

    1. fords42

      Re: we already got one

      Holyrood only has one L. Whae's the rocket noo?

      1. deconstructionist

        Re: we already got one

        jist bin festive ya bam

  5. lufffunk

    Best Location...

    So just to be clear, both Lord Moynihan and Lord Lang whom "Live quite close to Prestwick Airport" think that location is "head and shoulders the best airport to be licensed for spacecraft activities".

    Am I the only person who thinks that's a little suspect? No vested interests etc etc?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Vested Interests

      Makes a bit of a change from NIMBYism...

  6. Chewi

    Life imitating art?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLxLmFhROqY

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken
      Pint

      Re: Life imitating art?

      Brilliant. I didn't understand half of what was being said, but brilliant.

  7. Old one

    Great

    but I've got some ocean front property in New Mexico USA that would allow both Polar and Equatorial launches. Branson is investing here so maybe the British gov't should follow his lead and Amazon's Bezos is next door in Texas... Two pretty rich guys who are very successful. Bezos reusable launch booster has been very successful so ready technology and experience are close by... Some times its better to not start off re-inventing the wheel.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: ROFL

      but I've got some ocean front property in New Mexico USA that would allow both Polar and Equatorial launches.

      New Mexico Ocean Front? Lovely. I've got a bridge for sale. Would look good in the Ocean...

      1. Orv Silver badge

        Re: ROFL

        Well, if you wait long enough...

  8. smudge Silver badge
    Alien

    The ideal location

    Do none of them know that Bonnybridge is the UFO capital of the country?

    Plus they have excellent sales of Buckfast and glue.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The ideal location

      All that glue may be useful for sticking the heat resistant tiles back on. Not sure what the buckfast could be used for.

      1. Fink-Nottle

        Re: The ideal location

        Conveniently close to Glasgow, which would be the ideal location for the manufacture of hand-made heat resistant tiles. Particularly given that the the locals are world renowned for their skill with the traditional Stanley knife.

        1. BongoJoe

          Re: The ideal location

          I think that I may regret moving to Scotland...

      2. allan wallace

        Re: The ideal location

        "Not sure what the buckfast could be used for."

        Not sure?

        - it's rocketfuel!

      3. Pedigree-Pete
        Pint

        Re: Not sure what the buckfast could be used for.

        to pacify the occupants.! PP

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The ideal location

        "Not sure what the buckfast could be used for."

        Paint thinner?

  9. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Facepalm

    What madness is this: The Spaceport Glut!!

    Why does everyone want to have a "spaceport" nearby? Does any of the retards seriously believe there will be tons of taxes (KER-CHING!!!) and mega-jobs (DOLE QUEUE REDUCTION) from rare launches of supercomplex fragile gear?

    Are there also many people ready to allow nuclear reprocessing plants to be set up to get serious in space? Maybe they think everything can run on renewables??

    Is it just a marketing gag for the next Star Wars installment?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: What madness is this: The Spaceport Glut!!

      Why does everyone want to have a "spaceport" nearby? Does any of the retards seriously believe there will be tons of taxes (KER-CHING!!!) and mega-jobs (DOLE QUEUE REDUCTION) from rare launches of supercomplex fragile gear?

      Maybe some lobbyist is crossing a few palms with silvers which actually likely. Think about the two Disney parks... nothing around for miles before he built them. Or Cape Canaveral and the other sites. Nothing there, no value to the land around it. Put in a space launch site and PROFIT.

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: What madness is this: The Spaceport Glut!!

      Is it just a marketing gag for the next Star Wars installment?

      I find your lack of faith disturbing.

  10. AbelSoul

    Scotch pie...

    ... in the sky.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is politics, not science.

    enough said...

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