What about the wretched hive of scum and villainy in Tunisia?
That's got to be a lot cheaper than the UK although Trump had better first pay Jabba back first.
Lawmakers have signed off on a deal that will permit American companies to launch from a British spaceport, although the UK has yet to build one. UK science minister Amanda Solloway talked up the potential benefits to companies from Newquay and Scotland before declaring the "US-UK Technology Safeguards Agreement" a "key moment …
Ascension would be a better choice, nearer the equator and absolutely British. It's south of the equator (~5 I think) which might be useful too. Already got an RAF base with a long runway, an ESA space tracking station, the BBC world service transmitters and some no name agency listening posts (proximity to undersea cables just a coincidence). Oh, and lots of albatrosses.
ESA on Ascension tracks rockets from French Guiana, and the US military tracks rockets from Florida. If you launched from Ascension you'd need to have a tracking station somewhere in Africa, so it might be better to launch from the Americas (e.g. British Virgin Islands if it has to be a UK-owned site) and track it from Ascension like everyone else does.
"Pointy end up, flamey end down, or you will not go to space today."
Not so. With magic, you wouldn't need to go straight up. You could take off like an aeroplane, or a helicopter (vertical for a bit, then with a large dose of horizontal accel). No more getting crushed into your seats by reaching escape velocity in the shortest time possible, no more complaints from the EPA over loud noises and nasty chemicals being spread over the countryside, cheap and accessible space travel for all.
Don't forget the Earth was supposed to be flat, man couldn't travel faster than a horse can run without suffocating due to lack of oxygen, crossing the oceans could only be done in a boat and man could never reach the moon.
That's Arthur C. Clark's magic, obviously.
OK - I get the 'look at us, we are so cool we even have a spaceport' reason to build one, but isn't there a basic flaw - you generally want to launch with the spin of the earth rather than against it, so normally you launch to the east? You also generally want a nice uninhabited and sparsely occupied space (like an ocean or a desert) in the direction of your launch for a few hundred miles, so that inadvertent unscheduled disassembly events don't drop a few tons of scrap metal on anyones head. Last time I looked Europe was pretty close in an Easterly direction. So we will either have to launch south west from Cornwall or north from Scotland which essentially means polar orbits - maybe we are going to do a lot of weather observation!
There is a benefit of being close to the equator, that's why the European Spaceport in Kourou is so well-positioned at just 500 KM (or 5 degrees) north of the equator.
That is mainly useful for geostationary orbits, though. For a polar orbit, for instance, you don't need to be close to the equator and if your goal is just to fly some rich tourists 100 KM up so they can say they've been to space any place will do. In those cases having many days of good weather is more important than distance from the equator.
..you can drop old boosters etc.(including an entire failed rocket) a long way down range without risk of hitting anything expensive.
But to be on the safe side, and confuse an ancient UN territorial dispute*, I'd suggest Rockall!
Would create jobs for North Sea types, who could give it a flat-top, then drill suitably villainish silo down into the rock of Rockall. Need not be much more of a hardship posting than previous missile monitoring sites oop North.
*And making into an actively used part of the UK, would presumably reinforce our claim to one of the last great remaining outposts of the Empire. Which would secure the EEA, fishing & mineral rights, and it need not be considered Scottish territory. So shenanigans all round!
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020