Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

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Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

Post by brian livesey »

Scotland’s biggest landowner, Danish tycoon, Anders Povlsen, launched a judicial review, and lost, to overturn the Highland Council’s decision to allow for the construction of a space centre in Sutherland for launching small satellites: Space Hub Sutherland.
Povlsen said that permission to build the spaceport didn’t fully consider the effects on wildlife and the environment. One of his companies has invested £1.5m for a spaceport at Unst in Shetland.
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Re: Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

Post by Lariliss »

About 15% of launched satellites for the past several years are coming from the UK.

ESA’s chief space debris expert said that it would be “totally insane” to allow an increase in the present level of space debris by adding large numbers of small satellites to outer space.
For different countries, permissions differ, but in common. Any launch is an iInternational responsibility, public policy, national security, protecting industry, etc.
The permissions include several international and national governmental bodies.
Awareness of the Committee on Aviation and Environmental Protection (CAEP) at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
Non-governmental entities, such as small satellite operators, are subject to international environmental laws.106 They are subject to generally applicable international environmental laws whether established by treaty or by customary international law.
Supervision is deployed.
• Annual Reports
• Applications to Amend Licence Permissions or Conditions
• On-Site Inspections of Facilities and Investigations
• Compliance with the Registration Convention
• Suspension/Revocation of Licence and/or Penalties
• In most cases, a space object is a space object regardless of size or function
• This applies regardless of whether a satellite is for scientific, experimental or
commercial activities
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Re: Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

Post by JohnM »

What people seem to ignore is that only a very small part of the launch vehicle mass gets into space. The burning of the propellant results in atmospheric pollution but the first & second stages crash back to the Earth's surface . In most cases these fall into the Ocean but in some countries that do not have large areas of water particularly to the east of the launch site these crash onto the land. This is common in |Russia and also when launches took place from Woomera in Australia hence the recovery of the first stage of the British rocket that launched Prospero. This is now on display in the FAST museum in Farnborough.

Any UK launch site is limited to launches to polar orbits and even then the launch path is restricted by the need to avoid Iceland, Greenland, The Faroe's and Orkney & Shetland. I am not sure what happens about closing the international waters during launches to prevent ships being hit by the falling debris but it may be a problem if areas like the fishing grounds or oilfields are in the range closure area.
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Re: Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

Post by Lariliss »

UK is one of the strongest countries for the space launches industry.
The are are many questions in front of any company in the business, the following are ‘hot’:
- Harnessing AI more effectively for the satellites control, thus possibly reducing their number;
- Debris removal technologies for new launches;
- Making launches clean, using ecofuel;
- Making facilities more reliable and effective with 3D printing;
- Making ‘traffic rules’ on the orbit.

These goals are set for bringing space launch for a new level to leverage the traffic demand and sustain the market.
I believe, in the near future, it will be harder to launch anything to space, regardless of the amount of money. New regulations will come.
Queen Elizabeth II visited Scotland, to meet several space launch companies, that tells the stern.
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Re: Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

Post by JohnM »

Unfortunately geography is probably the most important factor in selection of a launch site.

1: Near the equator to get a speed boost from the Earth's rotation
2: 'Empty' sea area to the East for the 1st & second stages to fall into.

This is the reason Ariane Space launce from South America and also why the Proton rocket has better performance launched from the ESA / Ariane site than it does from Russia that is a lot further North and thus moving more slowly - the velocity falls as the cosine of the latitude. Thus more fuel and thus less payload to orbit.
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Re: Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

Post by Lariliss »

Right.
According to the ‘physics of launch’, the advantages of high altitude have only a small gain from less thickness of the atmosphere.
The launch sites selection might also have historical and logistic influence, especially for high payload launches.
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Re: Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

Post by JohnM »

The problems of where to drop the first and second stages was one of the reasons the intermediate range nuclear missiles were withdrawn from the UK. From what I remember they were being launched from Norfolk and the first stage dropped into the North Sea and the second crashed into the North of Norway. However someone then discovered Gas and Oil in the North Sea and it was not possible to move the rigs out of the danger area. I guess the Norwegians would not have been too happy with discarded rocket stages landing on their territory in addition there was the risk of Soviet raiding parties acquiring 'secret' parts from the missiles.
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Re: Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

Post by Lariliss »

That is a good point.
Though nowadays a multistage rocket parts either burn in the atmosphere or become space debris, exclusions still exist (which we can find in latest news).
The Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies (CORDS) is essential for the issues of space debris and space traffic management.
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Re: Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

Post by JohnM »

I thought most of the first & second stages fall back to Earth. They don't have the velocity to get into orbit and I am not sure they have the velocity to burn up. Also being of relativity low density (one the fuel is burnt) they have a fairly low terminal velocity.

The only first stage I have seen from a successful satellite rocket launch is the first stage of the Black Arrow that launched the British Prospero Satellite that is still in orbit but no longer functional.

I have attached a picture and you can see that while battered and bruised from hitting Australia at terminal velocity it is mostly intact though the engines are missing - I am not sure if they were knocked off or were removed for examination s
20210814-114138-small.JPG
20210814-114138-small.JPG (252.24 KiB) Viewed 207 times
It is mostly still there with no sign of heating or burning from the journey through the atmosphere. I don't know what altitude it reached before separation - I have a booklet on the proposed successor to Black Arrow that might give some details of the separation heights & velocities.

In addition there are things like the payload fairings that fall back to Earth - they are ejected as soon as aerodynamically possible to reduce mass and improve performance.

Certainly the first & second stages of the Apollo Saturn five's are in the bottom of the Atlantic.
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Re: Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

Post by JohnM »

In terms of the problems of where the first & second stages land there is an interesting talk on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tESNNDBEjAs on the history of Skylark.

An early part shows the range at Woomera in Australia and how they had to try to avoid the homesteads. Also all the homesteads were provided with shelters to take cover in when launches took place. They also had to provide telephone lines to all the homesteads which are a long way apart so they could be given warnings of when the launch took place.
There is a diagram showing the Black Arrow launch path for the Prospero Launch but it is not talked about in the recording.

Our Ex president John Zarnecki also gets a mention and their is a snippet of a talk by him included.

Enjoy
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Re: Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

Post by JohnM »

I found a diagram on this site https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/start ... e-woomera/ of where the first & second stages were planned to fall in launches of the Europa rocket from Australia. It gives an indication of the distances to the down range crash points but no actual locations. The launch site is no longer used for this purpose as ELDO now Ariane Space moved to French Guiana to get advantage of the speed boost from being near the equator & a large range called the Atlantic.
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Re: Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

Post by Lariliss »

Multistage rocket launches were one of the issues for selecting rocket launch sites till about 1990’s passivation implemented.

Though nowadays multistage rocket parts are recommended (UN, ITU) to be moved to a disposal orbit, they can either burn in the atmosphere or become space debris. Moreover, exclusions still exist, threatening to reach the earth surface (which we can find in the latest news).

The Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies (CORDS) is known for monitoring the issues of space debris and space traffic management. https://aerospacecorp.medium.com/a-quic ... 84a8e2bd04

There are many questions in front of active space companies, including: satellites control with AI, debris removal technologies for new launches, creating ‘traffic rules’ on the orbit.

Still, there are no clear requirements to escape the stages falling down to earth. The Aerospace Corporation wouldn’t be a strong shield with the dramatic launches increase.

Those are the leading rocket launch companies, who put it as one of the first priorities for safety, right.
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Re: Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

Post by JohnM »

It is interesting to note the launch vehicle for Landsat 9 performed a de-orbit burn above the north of the UK a couple of days ago (see separate thread) looking at the orbit on heavens above ([s.n.49260] - Satellite Information - {it is not identified as landsat -9 yet on heavens above}) it looks a\s though it may have crashed into the arctic ocean or possibly the Pacific

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Re: Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

Post by Lariliss »

I've found this this informative reminder:
https://aerospace.org/article/satellite ... ing-plunge

Avoiding the reentries controlled [or not controlled] should be a top issue.
Wherever it falls or burns, it is pollutant to the ecosystems.
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Re: Sutherland satellite launch site legal challenge

Post by JohnM »

Interesting I had not realised that someone had been hit by space launch debris and survived. There are various rumours about deaths from the Russian launch vehicles but some of those if they happened may be due to people coming into contact with toxic chemicals when salvaging metals from launch vehicles that crashed down range.

I have seen a calculation by Starlink that predicted that a person would be killed by by the uncontrolled re-entry of Starlink satellites however I believe they have revised the design since then to replace the dense components that would not burn up with lower density materials that will burn up on re-entry. Does not stop the atmospheric pollution of course and does not stop the problems of the 1st & 2nd stages on launch or what happens if an errant launch vehicle has to be blown up by the emergency destructors. Of course they can also self destruct as did the first Ariane 5 and many more before and since.

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