/ Spaceport - Outer Hebrides

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Nooie 03 Oct 2019

Hello all, this is my first post here. Sorry for asking for help on my first post, but it's something important. We have an unspoilt area on the North West of North Uist. It's the closest point to the St Kilda archipelago. Our local council has bought land for £1000,000 without consulting the local community and plan to stick a spaceport on it. Rockets will be 26m high and 2m wide carrying over 40 tonnes of Hydrogen peroxide and kerosene. The area is in an NSA and has lots of wildlife from eagles to otters. There have also been some climbing routes set there. During phase one of the development, they are hoping to launch 6m sounding rockets, but phase two (which they don't want to talk about) will launch 26m rockets. There is a group trying to stop this development and hoping the land could be used in a more traditional farming (possibly educational) or eco way. I don't know if many here have been to Scolpaig on Griminish Point, but any help would be great! Please sign the petition or even better write a letter of objection. 

https://www.friendsofscolpaig.org/how-to-object 

Thank you!

8
daWalt 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

might bring some economic activity to the region.

I don't see any un-manageable risks and it's not exactly an overwhelming destruction of the area.

maybe it's just me, but I'm not inclined to object.

7
Nooie 03 Oct 2019
In reply to daWalt:

It's actually going to be a test site. The company hoping to use it have to date only launched one 2.5 m rocket. They need somewhere to test the bigger ones so statistics show there will be explosions! There is a lot of wildlife there and it has some stunning scenery. There are also large arches which lead down to the sea. These are likely to collapse due to vibrations from the larger rockets.

7
Lemony 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

> They need somewhere to test the bigger ones so statistics show there will be explosions! There is a lot of wildlife there and it has some stunning scenery. There are also large arches which lead down to the sea. These are likely to collapse due to vibrations from the larger rockets.

[Citation Needed]

3
wintertree 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

Do you have a source for the rocket using hydrogen peroxide and kerosene? That would be something quite different…

I can’t say I’m a fan of the Hebridean space port from a technical standpoint.  Between the weather, the remoteness and the relatively limited orbits sensibly accessible which does seem a bit porkbarrel to me.

My preference is to support airborne launch of small payloads running out of a bog standard airport, and to develop a very large and strong runway somewhere in the south-east – preferably in the Thames estuary – that will be able to handle air breathing single stage to orbit spaceplanes.   next generation of giant American rockets from SpaceX and blue origin will dominate launch of most payloads, leaving niches for small launches (airborne) and comfortable passenger launches (SSTO spaceplanes).  The Hebridian spaceport doesn’t fit into this. There has been talk of SSTO spaceplane launching from Scotland, but I’m sure people would rather go out of London – at least the people who will be able to afford it…

1
daWalt 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

> It's actually going to be a test site.

what are they testing?

Eric9Points 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

When I glanced at reports previously I'd always assumed the new development would be an extension of the MOD site on Benbecula and as such, was ambivalent about it.

Thinking of Benbecula the biggest impact on the environment would most likely be from the associated new housing to accommodate the workers. I can see the economic benefits that this development would bring but like you regret the impact it would have on an almost unspoiled environment.

Do you have a link to any detailed plans?

Nooie 03 Oct 2019
In reply to wintertree:

Aye, I'll see if I can post the space consortium's report on what they plan for phase 1. The company involved  have an office in Edinburgh, but work in Ukraine. They hope to launch Polar orbital satelites and sun Synchronous sats. The fuel to be used is a mix of 95% Hydrogen Peroxide and Kerosene. Hydrogen Peroxide at 80% will ignite on contacting anything organic!

In reply to daWalt:

They want to test their bigger rockets. To date they have launched one 2.5m rocket. They haven't tried launching their biggest motor yet.

summo 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

Sounds fun. Will there be a visitors centre, or viewing area? Will the local hotels, restaurants be able to cope making a profit from tourists and workers alike? What about the poor youngsters who previously left for university and never returned, will some now come back for employment. It all sounds terrible. 

Post edited at 10:55
13
wintertree 03 Oct 2019
In reply to summo:

> Will there be a visitors centre, or viewing area?

Not if they’re launching with high test peroxide!  The last people (armadillo aerospace) to have a go at using very high purity peroxide ran into such difficulties getting anyone to supply it to them between regulatory issues and liability they saw the light and move to methane and liquid oxygen…

daWalt 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

they havn't launched a larger sized rocket yet.

you make it sound like they are development testing of new technology.

I woudl have thought that the rockets are essentially "off the shelf" for want of a better expresion (Black Brant for example). they may not have launched one yet but they arn't developing their own engines are they?

Post edited at 11:06
jkarran 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

> It's actually going to be a test site. The company hoping to use it have to date only launched one 2.5 m rocket. They need somewhere to test the bigger ones so statistics show there will be explosions! There is a lot of wildlife there and it has some stunning scenery.

Which will come to harm how?

> There are also large arches which lead down to the sea. These are likely to collapse due to vibrations from the larger rockets.

Whereas they are certain to collapse due to vibrations caused by the sea. I can't see anyone building an expensive launchpad anywhere near an unstable cliff edge.

jk

Nooie 03 Oct 2019
In reply to summo:

Tourist who have objected say they have been repeat visitors, but won't come back if this goes ahead. You can see this on the council's planning portal. The guy from HIE said that potentially up to 1000 people (including locals) would watch a launch or two, but then interest would dwindle. There is plenty of work on Uist, it's difficult to find staff! Plenty job offers have been re-advertised recently.It's not work that's needed, it's people. 

In reply to daWalt:

That is exactly it! They haven't launched their own motors yet. They are testing them just now and want to find a place to test their own rocket motors in real life. It will be a testing ground. They haven't even done an EIA yet and have only recenty been doing a bird survey.

In reply to jkarran:

Explosions will kill wildlife! 40 tonnes of Hydrogen Peroxide and I believe 8 tonnes of Kerosene in one launch. 

Le Sapeur 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

> The guy from HIE said that potentially up to 1000 people (including locals) would watch a launch or two, but then interest would dwindle.

Compared to 'educational traditional farming' I think rockets will attract far more visitors. 

2
Nooie 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Le Sapeur:

1000 initially then drops away. Meanwhile our repeat visitors stop coming as I said above.

Timmd 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie: The beauty and quiet of the Hebrides is why I've been planning on visiting. 

Post edited at 13:04
Nooie 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Timmd:

You'd best book soon then, before the council ruin it! Please sign the petition too..

Post edited at 13:09
Timmd 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie: Will do.

summo 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

> 1000 initially then drops away. Meanwhile our repeat visitors stop coming as I said above.

How many launches per year?

Jobs.. what is the average job and salary there? There might be other reasons why you can't convince a 20 something to leave say Edinburgh to work in an islands hotel on minimum wage for example. 

2
Eric9Points 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> Compared to 'educational traditional farming' I think rockets will attract far more visitors. 


I doubt it.

People visit the area because of the wildlife. Bird watching, fishing, walking along beaches, having picnics in the machair, that sort of thing. Those people may be inclined to give that corner of N Uist a miss if the feel of the place is changed and access to what I assume will be a large area of coastline is restricted.

1
Nooie 03 Oct 2019
In reply to summo:

Six at first, but they won't say how many after Phase 1. They have investors who obviously want to make lots of money. They don't live here! There are plenty jobs as well as in hotels etc. The promise of 50-70 jobs has been cut down to 6-13 with the higher paid jobs being "off site". In other words on the mainland.

summo 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

So there will be a loud noise for 10mins, 6 days per year. Hardly going to put off many visitors? 

If they are only employing 6-13 people doesn't indicate it's unlikely to be the future Heathrow of space travel? 

7
Nooie 03 Oct 2019
In reply to summo:

They will likely take workers in from the mainland. As I said before if you care to read again, there are many repeat visitors who say they won't return if this goes ahead. The main road round the island will likely be closed and there's also the pollution coming from the rockets which has been said by the lead guy of the consortium, will reach South Harris. 

summo 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

> They will likely take workers in from the mainland.

Still employment for remoter regions though?

> .The main road round the island will likely be closed

Will or will likely?

>  and there's also the pollution coming from the rockets 

What powers the vehicles all the tourists drive? The ferries? Do they still cut and burn peat there? 

9
tom_in_edinburgh 03 Oct 2019
In reply to wintertree:

> My preference is to support airborne launch of small payloads running out of a bog standard airport, and to develop a very large and strong runway somewhere in the south-east – preferably in the Thames estuary – that will be able to handle air breathing single stage to orbit spaceplanes.   

As long as we are launching rockets out of London can we base the nuclear submarines there too?

Including the 20 and 30 year old ones currently rusting in a dock at Rosyth because nobody wants to spend money on decommissioning them.

In exchange we are happy to have a couple of office buildings full of Admirals and such like in Glasgow.

1
Robert Durran 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

Awful. This sort of thing should be put in Lincolnshire or some other such god forsaken place with nothing much in the way of scenery to ruin - it might even bring some visitors to the area. It should not be in one of the world's most beautiful landscapes. 

Le Sapeur 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

>  Our local council has bought land for £1000,000 without consulting the local community and plan to stick a spaceport on it.

Is this specific objection about the council buying the land without consultation or the spaceport without consultation?

Le Sapeur 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Those people may be inclined to give that corner of N Uist a miss if the feel of the place is changed and access to what I assume will be a large area of coastline is restricted.

I doubt it. 

How many people are giving Cape Wrath a miss this week?

Eric9Points 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Le Sapeur:

I don't know, you'll have to tell me.

Whatever, North Uist and Cape Wrath don't really compare.

wintertree 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

> This sort of thing should be put in Lincolnshire or some other such god forsaken place with nothing much in the way of scenery to ruin

You need to launch north over clear ocean however (for polar orbits), so not many god forsaken options - perhaps near Skinningrove in the NY Moors?

In reply to Nooie:

It would be a shame to build on such a wild spot. Human beings just can't stop. There is always a good reason. It provides jobs, it brings in money, there was nothing really there.

What did the old Nez Perce chief say? 

Something like 'Only when the last of the machair has gone, the last sea bird has died and land has all been tarmacced- only then will the developers know that you can't eat money'. 

wintertree 03 Oct 2019
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> As long as we are launching rockets out of London can we base the nuclear submarines there too?

SSTO spaceplanes aren’t quite rockets - looks like an aircraft, flies like an aircraft, only exhaust is water...  

> Including the 20 and 30 year old ones currently rusting in a dock at Rosyth because nobody wants to spend money on decommissioning them.

Pretty disgusting isn’t it?  Perhaps they’ll be coming to the Able UK dismantling dry dock near us one day.  Fantastic place.  You can keep the reactors though...

Timmd 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Awful. This sort of thing should be put in Lincolnshire or some other such god forsaken place with nothing much in the way of scenery to ruin - it might even bring some visitors to the area. It should not be in one of the world's most beautiful landscapes. 

Lincolnshire contains an outstanding natural beauty, the Lincolnshire Wolds,

Post edited at 01:15
2
I like climbing 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> Lincolnshire contains an outstanding natural beauty, the Lincolnshire Wolds,

Agreed and I don’t think anywhere in Britain is suitable. This plan should be avoided at all costs.

1
Timmd 04 Oct 2019
In reply to I like climbing: I've familial roots in Lincolnshire, that's all it was.  What does he mean, God forsaken? ;-) 

Post edited at 01:35
I like climbing 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Timmd:

I know !

I do usually agree with a lot of his points on other topics.

althesin 04 Oct 2019
In reply to daWalt:

Have you seen the film "Local Hero"?

Deals with the issues nicely.

Without wanting to ruin the story, check who owns the beach and maybe site it offshore?

Coel Hellier 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

There are already plans for one of these on the north coast near Tongue. There's no way there would be enough demand for more than one to be commercially viable.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-49905163

Post edited at 08:52
tom_in_edinburgh 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> There are already plans for one of these on the north coast near Tongue. There's no way there would be enough demand for more than one to be commercially viable.

Spaceports are like buses.  You don't have one for years and then two come along at once.

Phil79 04 Oct 2019
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> As long as we are launching rockets out of London can we base the nuclear submarines there too?

> Including the 20 and 30 year old ones currently rusting in a dock at Rosyth because nobody wants to spend money on decommissioning them.

Not just Rosyth - there are currently 12 nuclear subs sat in Devonport slowly rusting away, some still fueled. Not been any decommissioning work since 2004, and none immediately on the horizon either. 

Its a mess...

tom_in_edinburgh 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Phil79:

> Not just Rosyth - there are currently 12 nuclear subs sat in Devonport slowly rusting away, some still fueled. Not been any decommissioning work since 2004, and none immediately on the horizon either. 

I think leaving rusting nuclear submarines in the water near major cities is absolutely disgraceful and probably represents a greater threat to the health of UK citizens than the Russian nukes they are supposed to be deterring.

If there is a shortage of money safely decommissioning the old nuclear submarines should take priority over building new ones.

Phil79 04 Oct 2019
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> I think leaving rusting nuclear submarines in the water near major cities is absolutely disgraceful and probably represents a greater threat to the health of UK citizens than the Russian nukes they are supposed to be deterring.

Well, certainly a far greater chance of some adverse impact, given the proximity!

The whole of Devonport Dockyard is essentially in the middle of the city. The older subs themselves are within 300m of peoples houses, nine of which are still fueled.

Plus they are currently refitting several Trident subs in 9 Dock and the refit facility.

Most be one of the most concentrated collection of nuclear reactors in the world.

Bob Kemp 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> I've familial roots in Lincolnshire, that's all it was.  What does he mean, God forsaken? ;-) 

He must be thinking of Skeggie...

Brown 04 Oct 2019
In reply to wintertree:

Presumably you only need to launch over clear ocean if you are worried about causing damage if it goes wrong.

In my opinion this does not rule out Norfolk at all.

Eric9Points 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Brown:

> Presumably you only need to launch over clear ocean if you are worried about causing damage if it goes wrong.

> In my opinion this does not rule out Norfolk at all.


Build it in the middle of Kirkcaldy then. If it all went tits up no one would notice.

wintertree 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Brown:

> Presumably you only need to launch over clear ocean if you are worried about causing damage if it goes wrong.

You are also dropping the first stage over a relatively uncertain and large area – with the exception of SpaceX landing most on a boat, they just fall into the sea really rather fast.

> In my opinion this does not rule out Norfolk at all.

You have a large Maritime exclusion area around rocket launches, and it may occur for multiple days due to problems with developmental rockets and the weather. I imagine the sea north of Norfolk is too busy for this sort of thing.

Oceanrower 04 Oct 2019
In reply to wintertree:

I don't think it was the wet bit of Norfolk he was referring to...

Lusk04 Oct 2019
In reply to Nooie:

Good luck, Nooie!
I can't think of a single development, that I've read about on UKC, that the Scottish authorities have turned down.

Rob Parsons 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Lusk:

> Good luck, Nooie!

> I can't think of a single development, that I've read about on UKC, that the Scottish authorities have turned down.


That's a depressingly accurate statement.

Robert Durran 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Timmd:

> I've familial roots in Lincolnshire, that's all it was.  What does he mean, God forsaken? ;-) 

Somewhere so dismal that even God has given up on it.

I offer a half-hearted apology to anyone from Lincolnshire that I may have offended. It was an arbitrary choice off the top of my head; I could just as easily have chosen any other county in the south east of England; the whole region is not worth one tiny Hebridean islet.

Name Changed 34 04 Oct 2019
Bob Kemp 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

Scots often complain about the geographical ignorance of the English when it comes to Scotland. I see you are exacting revenge... Lincolnshire in the south east?

Post edited at 18:03
Robert Durran 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Bob Kemp:

> Scots often complain about the geographical ignorance of the English when it comes to Scotland. I see you are exacting revenge... Lincolnshire in the south east?

Last time I looked at a map it was quite near the bottom right hand corner.

Edit: Fair enough. I've just checked a map again and it's about half way down, so a borderline case. Anyway, last time I had the misfortune to drive south, the God forsaken bit definitely began further north

Post edited at 18:22
Bob Kemp 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

Yes, Lanarkshire...

In reply to Bob Kemp:

"If you prefer countryside to be as remote and unspoiled as possible you’ll love Lincolnshire.

In the south the landscapes are flat, with wide open skies and polder farms growing flowers and vegetables.

The flatness is interrupted in the west by the Vales and in the centre by the Lincolnshire Wolds, rolling chalk and sandstone hills with the prettiest agricultural landscapes."

From a tourist guide....sounds lovely. Probably still head for North Uist mind...

In reply to Nooie:

BBC News - More than a quarter of UK mammals face extinction
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49892209

The constant pressure on our wild places, the constant good economic reasons for another spoiling of wild places not surprisingly leads to the extinction of our wildlife. Good luck with your fight against this. 

Dr.S at work 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

Look closer, it’s got some great features, Eagle Hill, Steep Hill, Doona  Nook....

Robert Durran 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Bob Kemp:

> Yes, Lanarkshire...

True, but at least it gets better down the M74 for a while afterwards until about Lancaster. Even nice for a bit south of the border!

Anyway I was thinking of the A1 route.

Hardonicus 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

Good God man, the upper reaches of Lincolnshire are as far North as Barnsley.

Robert Durran 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Hardonicus:

> Good God man, the upper reaches of Lincolnshire are as far North as Barnsley.


Just checked the map again. You are right - Barnsley's about half way down as well.

Bob Kemp 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

It's fine round Lancaster - Bowland Forest is hardly god-forsaken. You have to get south of Preston before it starts to deteriorate, and you still have large chunks of the Pennines to go. 

(Do I detect a slight veering from topic? Sorry...)


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