Space Age In UK
England and Scotland have decided to increase their reliance on rockets, in order to boost their respective states of economy. A few small British islands may also join the venture in 2022.
Lockdowns (at various times in the last couple of years to tackle COVID-19 Pandemic) have hit the British Economy hard. The Oil and Natural Gas Industries are also at risk in England and Scotland, because of steps taken by the two countries to reduce Greenhouse Gas emission. Unemployment is high during this period, while there has also been an increase in the number of young educated unemployed. To come out of this situation, Britain is planning to boost its Aerospace Industry.
The British and Scottish Aerospace Research Institutes are set to launch rockets and satellites, apart from exploring space research and travel. Spaceports or cosmodromes are being set up in various parts of these two countries, and on some of the British islands. Efforts are also being made to make Britain’s Space Programme as environment-friendly as possible, so that the amount of carbon in the air does not increase while implementing the programme. Virgin Orbit, a sister concern of the Virgin Group that provides launch services for small satellites, plans to launch a jumbo jet from Cornwall, and then a satellite would be launched from an altitude of 35,000ft above the ground. According to researchers, it would not emit excess carbon in the atmosphere.
Meanwhile, the UK Space Agency, too, has confirmed the news, saying in a statement that a satellite would be fired from a launch pad on British soil for the first time in 2022. As per the original plan, a Virgin Orbit jumbo jet would carry a LauncherOne rocket to a height of 35,000ft, where it would then be fired to propel its satellite cargo into orbit.
As far as Scotland is concerned, spaceports have been built in Sutherland and Shetland. Edinburgh would launch two-staged rockets, one each from the two cosmodromes, which could put satellites round the Earth. Scotland also plans to construct spaceports at Campbeltown, Prestwick and North Uist in the coming days. B2Space Limited of Wales, based in Snowdonia, would launch its own satellite by a balloon, although this is an unusual method. B2Space, currently facilitating the access to space and creating the foundations for the emerging industry of small and microsatellites, would release a helium-filled dirigible that would carry a rocket to a height of more than 20 miles, and then the launcher would be fired, carrying its satellite cargo into the orbit.
Similarly, some of the remotest parts of the British Isles would soon hear the sound of rocketry and space launches, as the Cornish, Sutherland and Shetland programmes would be implemented later in 2022. The Sutherland Spaceport is based on a 12-acre site at the centre of the Melness Crofters‘ Estate on the A’Mhoine peninsula on the very northernmost part of mainland Scotland. Dorothy Pritchard, the Chair of Melness Crofters’ Estate, has said: “This is not going to be the Cape Canaveral of the Highlands. There will only be a few launches every year. But the spaceport will provide skilled jobs for young people, and that is desperately important here.” She stressed: “The Oil Industry is going, young adults are leaving, and the population around here is ageing. A spaceport will bring a tremendous boost to the area by providing jobs for skilled, educated young folk.”
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