The U.K.’s move to host orbital launches is a huge step for Britain, and it shows how much things have changed in just 10 years since the country was last at war! Plans are moving forward with these historic missions despite uncertainty about when regulators might grant licenses–but we’re not going down without a fight because this could be our chance finally get beyond Earth orbit once again.”
This summer, Virgin Orbit will conduct two flights from Cornwall Airport Newquay in southwest England. The first launch is planned for July and the second one this month!
“The Cornwall launches are targeted around the middle of this year, summertime,” said Dan Hart with Virgin Orbit. He continued to say that their first launch will occur two flights after “Above The Clouds”.
“We’re shooting for an early 2021ibig Bang- susceptor!”
“This is a historic moment for British space exploration,” said Dr. Peter Warry Gartland of the University College London’s Department Space Engineering. He added that one factor governing their schedule was licensing and logistics but they are driving towards it “because this will be U-K soil ever seen by human eyes”.
Both Virgin Orbit and Spaceport Cornwall will require licenses from the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). As a US company, they must obtain an FAA license for launch operations as well to legally use our air space!
In a presentation at a Jan. 10 meeting of the Global Spaceport Alliance, Melissa Thorpe, head of Spaceport Cornwall, said the spaceport was already working with British regulators on its spaceport license. “We’re moving towards launch in less than six months,” she said. “Our application for launch as a spaceport is into the CAA, as is Virgin Orbit’s.”
The U.K.’s first spaceport license is expected to be released within the next few months, according to a recent interview with an official from British Columbia’s ministry of transportation and infrastructure.
The application was submitted in October but we’re just working through feedback on that now–it won’t have any effect until after launch sites are licensed by other regions across Canada so there isn’t much point putting off one step if it can help move things along faster later down this road.”
However, when CAA officials were called upon to provide greater certainty about licensing for Spaceport Cornwall or any other U.K launch site they offered far less assurance than had been previously announced by ministers from this country’s House of Commons Science and Technology Committee
The input contains multiple sentences that are not related properly but still need mention in one continuous flow – so here you go: “Licensing issues remain largely unchanged since objections first arose back then.”
Tim Johnson, director of strategy and policy for the CAA ( councils AIRLINE OWNERSHIP AGENCY), repeatedly declined to say if his agency expected Britain’s first passenger plane launch in 2022. He did mention four applications with 14 others currently being reviewed as “pre-applications.”
“We expect a launch by 2022,” said the chair of Greg Clark’s committee.
“We’re open for business. We process applications and the key factor in our timeline is how well they stack up, based on the evidence presented.”
Johnson repeatedly declined to say if a first U.K launch would take place in 2022, only telling committee members that it was “looking hopeful” for late this year or early next – frustration grew among those present as they sought answers from him on whether there would be an immediate breakthrough at all before then!
Johnson again declined. “The CAA understands the importance of timeliness in this regard and we’re doing absolutely everything possible to achieve that.”
applicants are the biggest determinants in how quickly we can move, and their safety is what will determine if they get a license. It could take 6-12 months or more for both launch licenses as well as spaceport ones–depending on who’s doing them!
The CAA has concerns that the spaceports in Scotland and Shetland may overwhelm them if they are each licensed for vertical launches.
“We’ve got space expertise and regulation expertise, but we can reallocate personnel depending on the phases of applications that come in.
“We’ve got an FAA secondee into our space regulation team so we can learn from some of what they do,” said the general manager. “Where there are things that each one has expertise in, we take advantage and use those skillsets.”
Macleod said that one of the largest factors preventing spaceports from launching is an applicant’s readiness. “They tend to take longer than they think, and we’re putting in extra support where it can so these applicants get through those most difficult stages.”
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