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Scotland Could Become Home To Britain's First Spaceport

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the a-place-to-launch dept.

United Kingdom 151

An anonymous reader writes Scotland could take a giant leap for mankind by becoming the home of Britain's first spaceport. UK Government ministers will announce on Tuesday eight potential sites for a base for sending rockets and tourists into orbit. RAF bases at Kinloss and Leuchars are believed to be among contenders for the spaceport, which would open in 2018 and be Britain's answer to Cape Canaveral. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: "I am delighted that the government is pushing forward with its ambitious plans to open a spaceport in the UK by 2018. Spaceports will be key to us opening up the final frontier of commercial space travel. Scotland has a proud association with space exploration. We celebrated Neil Armstrong's Scottish ancestry when he became the first man on the Moon and only last week an amazing Scottish company was responsible for building the UK Space Agency's first satellite. The UK space industry is one of our great success stories and I am sure there will be a role for Scotland to play in the future."

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Rather far north. (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447231)

Don't they try putting launching sites further south.
1. They are warmer and you don't need to de-ice your craft.
2. Uses less fuel as the earth is spinning faster

Re:Rather far north. (3, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447241)

It will be mostly for suborbital flights and non-equatorial orbits though, so the earth's spin is of limited use.

Re:Rather far north. (5, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447309)

It's of a lot of use if you're aiming to leave earth orbit though, for interplanetary probes. A site this far north is really good for polar orbits and that's about it. Even the ISS isn't that heavily inclined - you could get there from Scotland, but it'd use more fuel than a launch from further south. That's why the ISS is supplied from Guiana Space Center: It's in Europe*, so politically suitable, while still being close to the equator.

*It's in Europe the same way Hawaii is in the USA. It may be geographically remote, but legally and politically it's still France.

Re: Rather far north. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447645)

The EU is not Europe. Ask anyone from Switzerland or Western Russia.

Re: Rather far north. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447995)

your parent never mentioned the EU

Re: Rather far north. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47448061)

He did, however, compare to the USA.

I believe the point was that while Guiana is a part of France, which is a part of the EU (the countries), that does not make it a part of Europe (the continent).

Switzerland and Western Russia, on the other hand, are a part of Europe (the continent), but not the EU (the countries).

Re: Rather far north. (3, Insightful)

Pseudonym (62607) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448567)

For that matter, Scotland might not be Britain by the time it's built.

Re:Rather far north. (2)

magarity (164372) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448463)

I always thought the British should launch from St Helena to be closer to the equator.

Re:Rather far north. (3, Insightful)

fuzzywig (208937) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448949)

Nah mate, Ascension [wikipedia.org] is closer to the equator and already has ESA facilities.

Re:Rather far north. (4, Insightful)

Rashdot (845549) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447267)

Yes, but these are politicians performing a carrot and stick maneuver on Scotland.

Re:Rather far north. (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447565)

Its worth noting that the politician that announced it comes from a Scottish constituency...

Re:Rather far north. (3, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447967)

It's even more worth noting that there's a plebicite on Scottish independence coming up very soon.

Re:Rather far north. (3, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447595)

I wonder if such an obvious bribe will have bring people over to the "no" side, or if it will just make them even more disgusted the Westminster government and vote "yes".

Re:Rather far north. (1)

Titus Groan (2834723) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447681)

was a yes voter before, still a yes voter after hearing this, all this has done has increased my cynicism. PS Danny Alexander is a space-cadet.

Re:Rather far north. (3, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447323)

Indeed - and having stayed there, I can confirm the weather around Kinloss is usually awful.

Sounds like a "make work" effort at this very remote location. At least if something blows up on the pad or shortly after launch there's not much around to damage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Rather far north. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447371)

Does the UK have the same 'economic interest wrapped in the flag' rituals surrounding potential military base closings that the US does? (I'd assume so; but I don't know.) If so, the base's post-cold-war use patterns certainly look like those of a base in search of a mission... On the plus side, if any of the rumblings about radium and mustard gas having been improperly landfilled in the area are true, they'll barely notice an extra dash of hydrazine in the local water supply.

Re:Rather far north. (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447419)

It gets better, in 2 months Scotland votes to decide if it wants to leave the UK. does anyone think that a site will be chosen that might suddenly no longer be part of the UK?

Re:Rather far north. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447627)

Sure - why not. The English can 'give' a spaceport with little to no real use and then after Scotland becomes independent say "see - you're losing money everywhere. Your government can't even make your spaceport profitable. It'd all have been different with us, you know".

Re:Rather far north. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447373)

2. Uses less fuel as the earth is spinning faster

Well, if that were true, then why doesn't Florida just go on without the rest of the US?

And pray tell, how the hell does Canada keep up with the rest of the continent?

Re:Rather far north. (1)

Imrik (148191) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447391)

Because Florida has more distance to travel and Canada less.

Re:Rather far north. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447433)

Because Florida has more distance to travel and Canada less.

Oh God!

I mention N. American areas and the parent thinks I'm serious. I was joking around and I thought I said something so stupid that no one could possibly think it was a serious question.

Are we Americans really considered that ignorant about science?

Re:Rather far north. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447457)

Are we Americans really considered that ignorant about science?

(Posting AC to avoid burning mod points) It's not ignorance. A substantial subset of Americans have been conditioned to believe the opposite of anything based on science.

Re:Rather far north. (1)

Dins (2538550) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447611)

But that subset, by and large, does not post here.

Re:Rather far north. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447629)

poe's law much? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe's_law

Re:Rather far north. (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448751)

But that subset, by and large, does not post here.

Try posting something about Climate Change and get back to us on that.

Re:Rather far north. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47448935)

Oh yes they do. Just look at any story about climate change. Slashdot's audience isn't the same it was in 2000. More self proclaimed geniuses, less doers of anything.

Re:Rather far north. (2)

91degrees (207121) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447637)

Well, you do suffer from a disproportionate part of your population wnting the Bible to be a science book. Sorry. It's kinda hard to remember that a lot of you guys are perfeectly reasonable when your national idiots make so much damn noise.

Re:Rather far north. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447771)

Or your joke simply failed at being funny.

Re:Rather far north. (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448111)

That's just good science [imgur.com] !

Re:Rather far north. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447425)

Well, if that were true, then why doesn't Florida just go on without the rest of the US?

Ugh, please do.

And pray tell, how the hell does Canada keep up with the rest of the continent?

Depends, are we speaking metaphorically?

Re:Rather far north. (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447439)

It's Britain, you can only go so much further south and still be building in your own country. ;)

Re:Rather far north. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447819)

there is always Diego Garcia or St. Helena if the UK want a launch site nearer the equator.

Re:Rather far north. (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447451)

Yes but there's an important election looming.

Re:Rather far north. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447801)

Jersey Island would be much better choice:
1. Little to no taxes.
2. No need to follow UK regulations. And did I mention about taxes?
3. It's almost in France! And surrounded with water.
The tourists could then visit the spaceport as part of their yearly carat buying rituals.

Re:Rather far north. (1)

jabuzz (182671) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447929)

Because both Leuchars and Kinloss are such cold spots that you regularly need to do deicing. Living just a couple of miles/kilometres from Leuchars I can tell you now deicing would be less of a problem than at Cape Canaveral.

A proper kilt... (1)

Dareth (47614) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448601)

A proper kilt...will keep the ice off the space craft.

No "true Scotsman" rocket would launch without one!

.. also (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448653)

With the risk of this being "Scotlands" space port ..

Lots of mentioning of scotland in the text.

I'm not well aware of the positiong issue you mention, though I do understand that part =P
Was is the advantage of the opposite such as the Esrange (Kiruna) base here in Sweden?
http://www.sscspace.com/esrang... [sscspace.com]
The amount of space available?
They mention " investigation of the aurora borealis" here so maybe that's it? http://digilander.libero.it/lo... [libero.it]

Re:Rather far north. (1)

Albanach (527650) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448865)

While Kinloss is certainly quite far north, you have to account for the warming effect of the ocean and particularly the gulf stream. Scotland is more wet than cold as a result, with the average low [eldoradoco...eather.com] being above freezing year round.

I don't know how big an issue cloud cover and rain would be, but the temperature associated with latitude is probably less of an issue. The latitude itself isn't far off that of the Kodiak Launch Complex [wikipedia.org] in Alaska.

Please don't leave the UK! (5, Insightful)

zacherynuk (2782105) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447233)

We'll give you SPACESHIPS if you stay! (promise)

Re:Please don't leave the UK! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47448297)

Perhaps this is what they mean when they say independence will destroy the already-long-since-destroyed shipbuilding industry.

Hardly viable... (4, Insightful)

Wdi (142463) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447235)

Most of the commercial launches want equatorial orbits, and for that you want to launch as near to the equator as possible. As far as polar orbits for research satellites are concerned there is already the Kiruna site, which is fully equipped and at a better location for monitoring polar orbits. Polar orbits for secret missions? Countries involved in this will want to launch from their own turf. And space tourism? Does not exist yet.

Re:Hardly viable... (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447341)

Secret missions possibly. The UK government might want a domestic launch site, rather than have to entrust France with all their secret missions.

Or it might be, as many speculate, pure politics: This isn't coming from down London, this is being pushed by Scottish politicians. A big, expensive, high-tech project like that could do much to showcase Scotland as an economic success, stressing both to their own citizens and the rest of the world that they don't need the rest of the UK. There's a strong emphesis on the article on spaceplanes, a form of commercial aeronautics still in the development stage - having one of the first useable facilities would be a great prestige.

Re:Hardly viable... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447393)

If it is political theatre, 'spaceplanes' are doubly convenient: not only are they the new-and-cutting-edge-hotness, they also have ground requirements much closer to 'airport with atypically long runway' rather than the sort of expensive and specialized apparatus that very large vertically launched systems often do (the KSC's Crawler-Transporter vehicles are undeniably endearing; but not something I'd want to cost-justify...)

If the PR renders are anything to go by, you can pretty much take an existing airfield, knock down any ugly buildings that the media might see, and replace them with cool, ultramodern equivalents, and you've got a spaceport.

Re:Hardly viable... (3, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447515)

In that case the normal move is to place it in Australia. Lots of space, stable government and strong social, economic and political ties. As for secrecy already a part of 5 Eyes, so not a problem there, likely when it comes to 5 Eyes they likely could shift a large percentage of that cost to that alliance, so Australia, Canada, New Zealand UK and US would all chip in to fund it. Reason why Scotland, straight up carrot and stick for the independence vote. How will the Scots receive it, likely pretty badly as a straight up carrot and stick scam.

Re:Hardly viable... (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447345)

You could ask for a Commonwealth like site near the equator.
or a Commonwealth site with open land to pick up the parts after a test/error.
e.g. Woomera Test Range in Australia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W... [wikipedia.org]
As for spy equipment the UK has been happy to use Ariane/Titan /Delta from locations like Kourou in French Guiana. Skynet (satellite) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Hardly viable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447461)

It's obviously for the escape to the secret Mars colony when SHTF.

Re:Hardly viable... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447493)

Scotland Has Total Freedom ??

Cynically I expect (4, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447239)

Cynically I expect that this won't happen by 2018, and nobody expects it to. I think it is something that the government thinks will help get a "no" vote to Scottish independence.

Re:Cynically I expect (4, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447247)

That said, if Scotland does stay in the UK then it would be the logical choice. Scotland and Northern Ireland are the only parts of the UK where a launch path would not go over another country for a considerable distance.

Re:Cynically I expect (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447397)

Meh, if the UK would just stop holding out on the Schengen agreement they could easily repatriate any inadvertent launch debris with almost no border control hassles!

Re:Cynically I expect (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447653)

And be forced to accept a lot of economic migrants from outside the EU. With a very vocal part of the electorate already complaining about economic migrants for the new EU countries that will go down about as well as a plutonium brick.

Re:Cynically I expect (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447347)

But it's being pushed by Scottish politicians. I still think it's politics, but for the other side: It's a way for Scotland to demonstrate the have high-tech capabilities too, and are more than just an outpost of England.

Re:Cynically I expect (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447381)

But it's being pushed by Scottish politicians. I still think it's politics, but for the other side: It's a way for Scotland to demonstrate the have high-tech capabilities too, and are more than just an outpost of England.

It doesn't sound like it, from TFA:

Ministers want to establish the UK spaceport by 2018 - the first of its kind outside of the US.

Eight aerodromes have been shortlisted and Scotland has six of the potential locations.

Re:Cynically I expect (2)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447383)

Scotland is closer to the dark side of the moon, so the Space-Nazis will bomb Edinburgh first?

Re:Cynically I expect (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447441)

That highly depends on how the Scotts preserve such "space-port". For example, they want to uglyfy our Hebrides for the RICH. No way! London sucks. Lets vote "yes". All other brilliant ideas from Westminster and Downingstreet have shown that they increase the number of yes votes.

Re:Cynically I expect (1)

blane.bramble (133160) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447497)

Space-port must always be passed to the left, just the same as Earth-port

Re:Cynically I expect (2)

jabuzz (182671) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447949)

Given that neither Leuchars or Kinloss are in the Hebrides I am not quite sure what this is supposed to mean. They are also both pre-exisiting military bases with runways that are now disused.

Re:Cynically I expect (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447447)

Cynically, I think it has more to do with distracting from the £1Bn in private military spending the government's going to announce at the same conference.

Must vote remain underlings (0)

bazmail (764941) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447243)

They'll get their "wee spacey house" If they would only be good little subjects and vote to remain part of Britain so England can still pretend to be an imperial power?

Braveheart would not approve.

Re:Must vote remain underlings (4, Interesting)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447511)

If they would only be good little subjects and vote to remain part of Britain so England can still pretend to be an imperial power?

No, they are free to, you know, pay for it themselves if they vote no rather than yes. No one will attempt to stop and independent Scotland building a spaceport with it's newly minted Caledonian Dollars or whatever currency they end up on.

In the mean time, do you expect Parliament to simply act as if scotland is already not part of the UK? I suspect you'd be whiny about that too if it happened.

Or do you expect the UK as a whole to basically put large infrastructure on hold because a small fraction of the population eant to seceed?

So far, the best reason for a yes vote is because the "West Lothian Question" is blatantly unfair and undemocratic, but since it goes in Scotland's favour, I've not heard a peep out of that crowd about it.

Re:Must vote remain underlings (0, Troll)

JonnyCalcutta (524825) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447729)

So far, the best reason for a yes vote is because the "West Lothian Question" is blatantly unfair and undemocratic, but since it goes in Scotland's favour, I've not heard a peep out of that crowd about it.

Bleh. If that's all you know about it I'd keep quiet and stick to your areas of competence.

Re:Must vote remain underlings (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447749)

Bleh. If that's all you know about it I'd keep quiet and stick to your areas of competence.

Care to point out any times where Alex Salmond (or anyone else from that party) have publicly declared that their behaviour in executing such undemocratic power is reprehensible and it willbe for the greater good when that power is given up?

Or are you claiming that that's the only thing I know about the entire issue of independence? If the latter, then don't be a fool. Just because I have highlighted the best issue in favour of "yes" doesn't mean I know nothing about the rest of them.

Re:Must vote remain underlings (2)

Pax681 (1002592) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448317)

Bleh. If that's all you know about it I'd keep quiet and stick to your areas of competence.

Care to point out any times where Alex Salmond (or anyone else from that party) have publicly declared that their behaviour in executing such undemocratic power is reprehensible and it willbe for the greater good when that power is given up?

Or are you claiming that that's the only thing I know about the entire issue of independence? If the latter, then don't be a fool. Just because I have highlighted the best issue in favour of "yes" doesn't mean I know nothing about the rest of them.

I CAN!.. the Scottish National Party DO NOT VOTE ON ANY MATTERS NOT PERTAINING TO SCOTLAND IN WESTMINSTER!
This is a long standing policy and their response to the West Lothian as posed by Tam Dalyell. .... So.. care to actually state something that isn't patently and provably false?

Re:Must vote remain underlings (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448419)

I CAN!.. the Scottish National Party DO NOT VOTE ON ANY MATTERS NOT PERTAINING TO SCOTLAND IN WESTMINSTER!

Oh you are correct. Apparently I was mistaken about this one. It was Labour not the SNP guilty of that particular farce. Consider my previous post retracted.

I still think the best reason for a YES vote is to answer the West Lothian Question, however. While the SNP may have a backbone in this regard, Labour certainly do not (the other parties have a small enough representation for it not to matter as much).

Re:Must vote remain underlings (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448005)

In the mean time, do you expect Parliament to simply act as if scotland is already not part of the UK?

Well, they could wait two months to find out if it will remain part of the UK before making grandiose announcements. You know, so it doesn't look like a bribe and has some credibility.

Re:Must vote remain underlings (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448099)

Well, they could wait two months to find out if it will remain part of the UK before making grandiose announcements. You know, so it doesn't look like a bribe and has some credibility.

Where do you draw the line? One month? Two? Four? Eight? Sixteen?

Precisely how long should the remaining 91% of the population delay the running of the country to satisfy something like 4.5%?

And are you sure it's a bribe? It's more of a maybe than a promise. Should the UK Pariliament pretend that Scotland never receives the benefit of large projects (e.g. the two aircraft carriers, the proposed endpoint of HS2, a bunch of milirary bases and so on) in order to artificially benifit the YES camp? Would that be fair or equally biased?

I'm going to say I am in favour of unity. I've looked at both sides (not aht I have a choice in the matter) and the Salmond's camp seems to be relying of wishlists, optimism and bombast with a side order of whining.

Still if you guys vote yes and joing the EU you'll have to put up with hoardes of students from the remaining UK heading over there for free education in a nearby, English speaking country. That would be a richly deserved justice since it was the Scottish MPs who without regard to basic etihcs foisted fees on England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Re:Must vote remain underlings (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448439)

So far, the best reason for a yes vote is because the "West Lothian Question" is blatantly unfair and undemocratic, but since it goes in Scotland's favour, I've not heard a peep out of that crowd about it.

Well, I have now. The SNP list this as a reson for independence. I still think it's the best reason, though I think there are better alternatives.

World Cup 2018 (0)

sdack (601542) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447299)

A quick check of today's date and it's not April 1st. It would have helped explain a lot ...

I cannot believe this is seriously being considered. Not only for efficiency reasons, but for the fact that each rocket launch into high atmosphere always punches a huge hole into the ozone layer, consuming massive amounts of energy and resources, and is an all-round hazard for life on Earth. Why some people keep holding onto the idea of creating this kind of "fair ride", which in the end is exactly what it is, is beyond me.

How about getting the England football team beyond the first round for the next world cup? This I see as a much better plan for 2018.

Re:World Cup 2018 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447339)

How about getting the England football team beyond the first round for the next world cup? This I see as a much better plan for 2018.

We prefer realistic goals.

Re:World Cup 2018 (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447387)

How about getting the England football team beyond the first round for the next world cup? This I see as a much better plan for 2018.

We prefer realistic goals.

David Cameron is currently undertaking a feasibility study on the possibility of holding a piss-up in a brewery.

Re:World Cup 2018 (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448803)

I understand he's currently stuck on picking Evian or Dasani for the beverage.

Re:World Cup 2018 (0)

sdack (601542) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448127)

How about getting the England football team beyond the first round for the next world cup? This I see as a much better plan for 2018.

We prefer realistic goals.

You mean such as building a space port in Scotland?

Re:World Cup 2018 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447553)

Why not create an UK team ? You would have more chances of success.

Re:World Cup 2018 (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447587)

Why not create an UK team ? You would have more chances of success.

double zero is still zero!

Not a real spaceport (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447343)

This is for suborbital tourism, with speeds up to mach 4. There are a glut of spaceports to LEO as is.

Re:Not a real spaceport (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447357)

While the article talks about spaceplanes a lot more, it also states that the facility will be capable of satellite launches. If it ever actually gets built, which seems dubious with Scotland's current political situation.

This is Stage 2 (1)

albacrankie (1017430) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447505)

Scotland started its space exploration work in the 19th century.The first rocket (see link) encountered some technical difficulties, but we expect to get those sorted out soon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]

That's so EU, Mr Cameron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447519)

This kind of promise "we give you something" to "buy" a vote, it looks really like EU maneuvers for Ireland (or less recently UK and others.) Glad to see that you approve the Union, now.

Political background (4, Insightful)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447527)

Relax, everyone. This is a non-story; it isn't going to happen, and no-one seriously expects it to.

We're having a referendum in September on whether to separate from the UK and become an independent nation. The UK government has woken up - very late - to the realisation that it's quite likely to lose, and consequently will also lose its only nuclear submarine base, 90% of its oil revenue, and probably its permanent seat on the UN security council. Consequently they're panicking and offering us all sorts of unlikely bribes. The spaceport won't happen because

  1. If we vote 'yes', it's not going to be an urgent priority of the Scottish government;
  2. if we vote 'no', this and all the other promised bribes will be quietly forgotten.

So relax. The fact that there's no money and no commercial use for it, and that we're too far from the equator, doesn't matter; no-one seriously intends to build it. It's a media stunt, pure and simple. It isn't going to happen.

Re:Political background (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447785)

nuclear submarine base

Indeed, now what are you going to do with an empty submarine base?

90% of its oil revenue

The UK is a net importer of oil these days - there is no oil revenue. You may be able to make a small profit on the last trickles, though.

permanent seat on the UN security council

Unlikely, but I know for sure who won't be on it...

Re:Political background (1)

gsslay (807818) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447965)

Indeed, now what are you going to do with an empty submarine base?

Not pour billions of pounds down the drain into it?

Re:Political background (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448421)

nuclear submarine base

Indeed, now what are you going to do with an empty submarine base?

90% of its oil revenue

The UK is a net importer of oil these days - there is no oil revenue. You may be able to make a small profit on the last trickles, though.

permanent seat on the UN security council

Unlikely, but I know for sure who won't be on it...

That doesn't take into account the oil/gas off the West coast of Scotland nor does it take into account the Scottish stake of the Rockall claim.
BTW i'd hardly call 1.5 trillion barrels a trickle... and that's just the north Sea.
who gives a fuck about a seat on the security council to be quite frank???
As for what to do with an empty submarine base??? now that's EASY.. refit it as a support base much like the port at Nig off the north east which makes astonishing money servicing oil rigs, support vessels and exploratory rigs... combine that with a wee touch of the support role Aberdeen port plays and you have a winner... simple enough for you?

Re:Political background (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447793)

wee eck disagrees with you about it's suitibility

http://news.stv.tv/north/282534-first-minister-dismisses-fears-over-scottish-spaceport-plans/

and it's not really a new plan

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/9694766.stm

and for something like virgin galactic it's a fairly good fit, though I'm not sure how much revenue that kind of space commercialisation is going to bring in.

Re:Political background (2)

gsslay (807818) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447917)

that it's quite likely to lose

You appear to know something that the opinion polls don't. What is it?

probably its permanent seat on the UN security council

Where did you pull this nonsense from?

Re:Political background (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447963)

It's a media stunt, pure and simple. It isn't going to happen.

Same as Scottish independence.

Re:Political background (1)

Wild_dog! (98536) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448047)

Scottish Independence a media stunt? or isn't going to happen???

Re:Political background (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448131)

"Quite likely to lose"? In what uninverse? Latest polls show "Yes" trailing by over ten points.

Re:Political background (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47448757)

Funny that, it's only the hardcore Scots who want independence and all public opinion polls show that most in Scotland want to stay. Maybe we should kick all the "yes" voters to the outer Hebrides when they miserably fail. Typical anti-unionist:

IF I SHOUT LOUD ENOUGH IT WILL GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT ALL SCOTTISH WANT FREEEDDDOOOOOMMMM!

I see endless possibilities here (1)

some old guy (674482) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447529)

The potential for a whole new genre of Scotsman jokes is giving comedians everywhere goose bumps.

Should have been Ascension Island (2)

Baldrson (78598) | about a month and a half ago | (#47447597)

While I was VP for Public Affairs at E'Prime Aerospace, we evaluated various sites for establishing a space port to launch our MX-derived rockets. It turned out that the presence of a military air strip at Ascension Island [google.com] allowed a military jet transport large enough to deliver entire launch vehicles. Of course, the MX system was solid fueled so we didn't have to transport cryogenics long distances, but it would be feasible to set up a LOX facility on the island. There is a particular coastal cliff that is ideal for a launch pad.

What's with the spaceports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47447619)

Where are all the low cost, efficient, low emissions, low fuel consuming propulsion systems needed for the man on the street to give a s*$t..

Stay in the UK & we'll maybe give you a spacep (1)

Wild_dog! (98536) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448029)

hahahahaha.
What a funny ploy.
What if Scotland actually votes for independence?

Umm (0)

azav (469988) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448235)

We launch from the equator for a reason. Since when is Scotland near the equator?

Re:Umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47448333)

They'll move there when they secede from the UK.

Kilts in space? (0)

PPH (736903) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448409)

Not a good idea, IMO.

Obvious advantages of Prestwick (0)

Sockatume (732728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47448617)

Prestwick International Airport is modestly famous as the only place in Britain to ever have been visited by Elvis.* If the aliens are ever going to return him, this seems like the obvious place to go.

*He was transferring through on his way home from the war.

I see a Rab C. Nesbitt episode coming from this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47448671)

They could build it in Govan.

Vote for independence? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47448809)

I wonder if this is designed as a "swayer"?

Hey smart guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47448941)

If you bothered to even open the link you would have seen that it's Virgin Galactic payloads and people, not ground based rocketry. A White Knight will carry the second stage aloft and they could easily fly south, avoid weather and get LEO insertion to access a large body of clients. So, very possibly the site with the longest runway, but one might be lengthened to get better weather elsewhere. Numbnuts!

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