Scottish MP Give Vulcan Salute in Support of Europe’s First Spaceport

Scottish National Party Member of Parliament gave a Vulcan salute to support the building of Europe’s first spaceport in Scotland, an idea which has gained the endorsement of Star Trek’s Kirk and Sulu, The Guardian reports. The SNP’s Phillippa Whitford made the hand signal during a debate in the House of Commons, before which she made the case for establishing the spaceport in her constituency of Central Ayrshire. A statement from Star Trek veteran William Shatner, supporting the initiative, was read out in Parliament by Whitford. A tweet from George Takei also lent support to the endeavour, prior to the debate.

“During the election, whenever I talked to anyone about this they would always just laugh because to us in this country we think space is for other people, it’s for the big boys: north America, Russia, maybe even China – but not us,” Whitford said. “That is something we have to change. We need to believe what we can do. I think Major Tim Peake’s mission will achieve that. This is a real industry, not the ‘beam me up Scotty’ or fretting about the dilithium crystals that we see on the telly, but a multibillion-pound industry.”

“So I’d call on the minister to be imaginative and to be brave and to be boldly going where no minister has gone before. I call on the minister to please be imaginative, enable this industry across the entire UK so it can live long and prosper,” she added.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcfGXRjylq8

Whitford then read out the statement from Shatner:

“Space is one of the last known frontiers mostly untouched by mankind and his politics. In opening a debate on this subject, my hope is you take the tenets of Star Trek’s prime directive to universally and peacefully share in the exploration of it. I wish you all a wonderful debate. My best, Bill.”

Before the debate, Takei made his approval of the idea known on Twitter:

The Department of Transport will be tendering bids for the spaceport following its appraisal of the technical specifications required to support any potential spaceport.

Britain Approves Europe’s First Spaceport

The British government has approved plans to build Europe’s first spaceport within the United Kingdom by 2018. The port is set to offer commercial space travel and high-speed international flights. Westminster agreed to the proposal after a three-month consultation period, during which time a shortlist of potential locations was drawn up. The list includes Campbeltown, Glasgow Prestwick, Stornoway, Newquay, and Llanbedr.

The proposal was first submitted in July last year, after the British Civil Aviation Authority put forward eight prospective sites for construction. Robert Goodwill, the UK’s Aviation Minster, said, “I want Britain to lead the way in commercial spaceflight. Establishing a spaceport will ensure we are at the forefront of this exciting new technology.”

It is hoped that the port will also push innovation in super-speed flights, with the company behind construction suggesting that long-haul international flights like UK to Australia could be reduced from 12 hours to only 2. SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are the two most likely candidates to operate flights out of the new spaceport.

Source: The Verge

The UK Plans to Build its First Spaceport by 2018

The United Kingdom is said to have planned its first spaceport to be built and be up-and-running by 2018, while Virgin Galactic is preparing to become the first company launching space-tourism flights from within the country.

The British government is said to have planned an official announcement this Tuesday, where it will go into detail regarding the eight possible locations for the spaceport. The Guardian states that amongst the rumored locations include the north of Scotland, Norfolk, Bristol and Outer Hebrides.

“We have worked out the regulatory regime we need to launch spaceships in Britain and assessed what kind of aviation checks will have to be imposed when we put craft into space,” UK science minister David Willetts tells the Guardian. “In the wake of that work we have now created a shortlist of locations for the first British spaceport.”

The news does not come as a surprise, since the United Kingdom’s space sector is now worth over £11 billion / $18,8 billion, having the government aiming at raising it to around £40 billion by the end of 2030. In terms of flights, it is said that both commercial satellites and manned mission will be able to launch from the spaceport, with companies such as Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace already lining up as potential users.

Commercial space tourism is said to have been rapidly growing, having the UK jumping in at a key moment. Virgin Galactic is stated to have planned its first flight later this year, taking off from a base in New Mexico. In addition to the company’s flight schedule, Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic, is reported to have already identified at least one location in the UK suitable for launching space flights in the near future.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Fox News

SpaceX Granted Permission to Build Spaceport in Texas

SpaceX have just been given approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to build their massive 56.5 acre spaceport on the Gulf of Mexico, right on the Texas-Mexico border. Of course there is still a lot of work to be done, such as building the damn thing, but it’s a massive step towards making their spaceport a reality.

The FAA issued a Record of Decision, which means that the agency would be willing to grant launch licenses to the company, allowing them to operate out of the new site. The FAA says that it would be likely that any requests from SpaceX to launch as many as 10 of their Falcon 9 rockets and two Falcon Heavy rockets per year from the privately owned site. Meaning they could theoretically have a launch each month.

SpaceX still need approval from several other agencies, including the Texas Department of Transportation complete their site plan, as they’ll be wanting to build new roads, utility lines and more. Yet with the most important part, being allowed to launch rockets, their plans should be pretty easy from here on out.

SpaceX currently launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, but the new plan means they’ll be able to play around with their space toys on their own turf and timeline.

Thank you Motherboard for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Motherboard.