Launching from the UK?

The BBC are reporting that Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic would like to build a space port in the UK. They already plan to have one in New Mexico and are thinking about one in Sweden, but they have apparently asked the UK government if it would be possible to use RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland or RAF St Mawgan near Newquay in Cornwall as take-off sites. It would be pretty amazing to be able to journey to the edge of space (360,000 ft or 109 km) from Scotland. The only trouble for me is that I don't have £107,000 ($200,000) to spare for a ticket. Donations are welcome!

One thing at the back of my mind, with the inevitable increase in space tourism, is the shear amount of energy required to get huge numbers of people up to 100 km or higher. That is going to involve large amounts of fuel which will be burnt in the upper atmosphere. Interestingly, in the promo video on the Virgin Galactic website, Mr Branson specifically mentions attempts to reduce the environmental impact of his new business. He reckons that it will have far less impact than any other manned space vehicle that has been built so far.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Thursday 22nd Feb 2007 (22:59 CET) | Permalink
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