Sweden Aims to Overhaul Space Law as Orbital Launches from Esrange Loom

MAXUS 9 launched at Esrange Space Center. (Credit: SSC)

STOCKHOLM, November 23, 2021 (Swedish Government PR) — Today, the Space Act Inquiry has submitted its report A new space law to Matilda Ernkrans, Minister with responsibility for space issues. The inquiry proposes a new space law that takes into account international regulations, promotes Swedish space operations and ensures national security needs.

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Esrange Moves Closer to Satellite Launch Capability

(Swedish Space Corporation PR) — The construction of the new spaceport at Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden is reaching new milestones – heading towards satellite launch capability by 2022. The orbital launch complex is currently being finalized with integration halls for rockets and satellites, expansion of planned fuel plants, launch pads and surrounding technical ground systems, and more.

“With more than 50 years of experience from launching rockets and balloons, Esrange Space Center is already one of the most active and versatile launch sites in the world. And with the new spaceport capability the base will be able provide a platform for space companies to develop their next generation rocket technologies and launch their satellites”, says Philip Påhlsson, Project Manager of New Esrange.

Esrange Space Center – the future of European spaceflight.

FAA Invites Public Input on Draft Environmental Review to Operate Huntsville International Airport as Commercial Space Reentry Site

WASHINGTON (FAA PR) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) invites the public to comment on a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for Huntsville International Airport (HSV) to serve as a reentry site for horizontally landed commercial reentry vehicles. The Draft EA also addresses a proposal by Sierra Space Corporation to land its Dream Chaser vehicle at the site up to eight times between 2023 and 2027. 

The FAA plans to hold a virtual public hearing for the draft review on Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. Central Time as part of the 40-day public comment period that ends on Dec. 22. Public comments can also be submitted to HuntsvilleReentry@icf.com.

The Huntsville-Madison Airport Authority is seeking a Reentry Site Operator License and Sierra Space is seeking a Vehicle Operator License. The draft review is part of both licensing processes. It evaluates the potential environmental impacts of the proposed reentry operations, including associated airspace closures. 

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Green Light Given for Satellite Launch Base at Andoya in Norway

Sounding rocket launch at Andoya. (Credit; Norwegian Space Agency)

OSLO, Norway (Norwegian Space Agency PR) — Andoya Space is to receive 365.6 million Norwegian kroner [US $43.4 million] from the Norwegian government to establish a launch base for small satellites at Andoya in Northern Norway. 

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Skyrora Signs Decade-long, Multi-launch Deal with Shetland Spaceport

Skyrora XL lifts off the launch pad. (Credit: Skyrora)

EDINBURGH, 12th October 2021 (Skyrora PR) — British rocket company Skyrora has agreed a multi-launch deal with the SaxaVord spaceport on Unst, the most northerly of the Shetland Islands, as it moves closer to launching its XL rocket in 2022. This is the first agreement Skyrora has made with a Scottish Spaceport. If successful, this could be the first rocket to go to space from the UK. The multi-launch agreement with SaxaVord will run for the next decade, giving Skyrora the ability to build towards their target of 16 launches a year by 2030. 

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SSC Invests to Finalize Spaceport Esrange – First Satellite to be Launched in 2022

MAXUS 9 launched at Esrange Space Center. (Credit: SSC)

SOLNA, Sweden (SSC PR) — Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) have signed a EUR 12 million [US $13.9 million] loan agreement for the finalization of a new spaceport at Esrange Space Center in Kiruna, northern Sweden. The 12-year maturity loan will finance the investments to unlock the use of reusable rockets and the ability to launch small satellites into orbit as early as 2022, making Esrange the first major orbital launch site in the EU.

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Maritime Launch Services Chooses Local Firms to Design and Construct Canso Launch Facility

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, May 26, 2021 (Martime Launch Services PR) – Maritime Launch Services Ltd. (“MLS” or the “Company”), owner of Canada’s first commercial spaceport, is pleased to announce that it has selected a number of Nova Scotian firms to advance design and preparations for construction of the launch complex located near Canso, Nova Scotia.

“We have selected a number of local firms across Nova Scotia to support Maritime Launch in building a state-of-the-art, world-class launch complex,” said Stephen Matier, President and CEO of MLS. “With initial financing in hand, we have begun hiring members of our executive leadership team and we are accelerating work so we can break ground on construction of the complex in the fall.” The preparation efforts include work for Strum Consulting, Stantec, Lloyd’s Register, Nova Construction, Lindsay Construction Management, St. Francis Xavier University, and others.

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British Spaceflight to Become Reality as Government Provides Launch Pad for Spaceports

Artist’s impression of a UK spaceport. (Credit: Perfect Circle PV)

Satellites and rockets could launch from UK soil in 2022, with spaceports planned for Cornwall, Wales and Scotland.

  • government paves the way for commercial space launches from UK soil with new regulations
  • planned spaceport sites across Great Britain to create hundreds of jobs as we build back better
  • regulations provide grounding for new business opportunities such as space tourism from newly established spaceports

LONDON (Department of Transport PR) — Another barrier to space exploration from UK soil is lifted today (24 May 2021), with spaceports expected to be in operation from next summer.

Developed with the UK Space Agency and the Civil Aviation Authority, new regulations being laid in Parliament today will mean satellites and rockets can launch from UK soil for the first time – with spaceports planned for Cornwall, Wales and Scotland.

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Shetland Spaceport Shot Down Over Historic Site Concerns

Launch from Shetland (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

Shetland Space Centre’s (SSC) plans to build a spaceport on the old Royal Air Force Skaw radar station has been shot down, spelling potential doom for the project and Lockheed Martin’s plans to launch satellites from site in northern Scotland. The Shetland Times reports.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES)  said it would cause “extensive and adverse impact on the cultural significance” of Skaw radar station.

However, SSC chief executive Frank Strang has hit back saying he would “vigorously contest” the refusal.

Mr Strang said he was “greatly surprised” by the decision, claiming HES had  “done nothing to preserve the site for the last 50 years”.

Skaw is the UK’s most northerly Second World War radar station and protected as a scheduled monument of national importance.

The proposed space centre would be built almost entirely with in the RAF radar station site.

It would require the removal of nine buildings, including air raid shelters, guard huts and those associated with the radar system. 

China to Construct Fifth Spaceport for Commercial Launches

The Long March 7A rocket lifts off on March 12, 2021. (Credit: Wu Tong Xiaoyu)

SpaceNews reports that China plans to construct a fifth spaceport to support the nation’s growing commercial launch sector. The spaceport is included in China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, which covers 2021-25.

Dou Xiaoyu, a deputy to the National People’s Congress (NPC), the top Chinese legislative body, and a vice chairperson at China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. (CASIC), a giant state-owned enterprise, called for a Chinese commercial spaceport project in order to meet an expected surge in demand for space launch services. 

Dou said China needs to strengthen domestic launch site capacity and continuously improve and optimize facilities. She also noted that launch-related policies and regulations have yet to be promulgated and perfected.

CASIC, through its subsidiary Expace, launch Kuaizhou series solid rockets for commercial purposes, both on the open market and for its own projects including a narrowband Internet of Things low Earth orbit constellation, named Xingyun. CASIC is also developing methane-liquid oxygen propellant engines.

FAA Delays Decisions on Spaceport Camden in Georgia

Spaceport Camden launch complex (Credit: Camden County)
Spaceport Camden
FAA Project Status Update

The FAA is continuing to develop the Final EIS. As part of that process the FAA has consulted with Federal and state agencies, and their comments are being incorporated into the Final EIS. In addition, the FAA has completed a number of consultations including Section 4f of the Department of Transportation Act, Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (with National Marine Fisheries and US Fish and Wildlife), and Essential Fish Habitat consultations. The FAA is continuing to work with the Georgia State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) to complete the Section 106 process.

As previously announced, the FAA had planned to release the Final EIS and Record of Decision (ROD) in March 2021. However, due to ongoing consultation efforts with the Georgia SHPO and the ACHP, the FAA now intends to release the Final EIS by April 20th and the ROD separately by June 18th.

When the Final EIS is available, a notice will be sent to individuals and organizations on the project distribution list.

Space Launch from British Soil One Step Closer

Sutherland launch complex. (Credit: HIE)
  • government on course to legislate for UK spaceflight by the end of this year
  • first-ever launch into space from British soil could have lift-off in the early 2020s
  • UK spaceflight plans would create high-skilled jobs in an industry worth £14.8 billion, as we build back better from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

LONDON, March 5, 2021 (UK Department for Transport PR) — A giant leap in British spaceflight history is being made today (5 March 2021) as the government publishes its commercial spaceflight consultation response, paving the way for space launches from UK soil.

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Turkey Outlines 10-Year Space Development Program

The same day that rival United Arab Emirates’ Hope spacecraft entered orbit around Mars, Turkey unveiled an ambitious 10-year plan that includes sending an astronaut into orbit and a rover to the surface of the moon.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the country’s lunar rover would be launched in 2023 to mark the centennial of the nation’s founding. “We will go to the moon in 2023,” he said.

The 10-year program has ten different areas of focus.

  • lunar exploration
  • indigenous satellite development
  • regional positioning and timing
  • space access and spaceport development
  • Turkish astronaut and scientific research
  • space weather research
  • observation and tracking of space objects
  • creation of a space industry ecosystem
  • development of human resources
  • creation of space technology development zone.

“The national space program will carry our country to an upper league in the global space race,” Erdogan said as he announced the 10-year plan.

The Turkish Space Agency (TUA) will carry out the program. You can learn more about 10-year plan here.

Prospect of Major Boost to Shetland Economy as Space Launch Site Plans Lodged

GRANTOWN-ON-SPEY (Shetland Space Centre PR) — The creation of a space launch facility in Unst will result in hundreds of new jobs and significantly boost the local economy.

Major planning proposals have now been submitted to Shetland Islands Council on behalf of Shetland Space Centre by town planning consultants Farningham Planning Ltd.

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Spaceport Upgrades Launch Kennedy Into Record-Setting Future

An aerial view of the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and Launch Control Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 13, 2021. The High Bay 3 in the VAB is where NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft will be stacked on top of the mobile launcher before it is rolled out atop crawler-transporter 2 to Launch Pad 39B for launch on the agency’s Artemis I mission. (Credits: NASA/Ben Smegelsky)

By Heather L. Scott
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

As quickly as the crewed commercial rocket lifted off the launch pad and into the night sky, a new type of space race had begun.

The November 2020 launch of astronauts from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on the first operational mission by a commercial company was the culmination of a new form of government and industry cooperation – an example of how vibrant and diverse American space activities have become.

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