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UK plan to launch rival to EU sat-nav system.

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UK plan to launch rival to EU sat-nav system.

Old 6th Jul 2020, 18:29
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VP959, ideal for launching into polar orbit without overflying anyone else. It may be windy, but the weather/climate in equivalent northerly locations in continental America and Europe is far more inhospitable for much of the year due to the absence of the moderating influence of the Gulf Stream.

The NASA preferred polar launch site is Kodiak in Alaska which for much of the year is somewhat...... chilly.

https://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy...ets/sites.html

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Old 10th Jul 2020, 22:43
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Big D--
Any chance we could launch Boris and his band of merry men into the outer space?
Almost as outrageous as Piers Morgan calling D Cummings a " rat faced weasel " on breakfast tv . :-)

ORAC--

The NASA preferred polar launch site is Kodiak in Alaska which for much of the year is somewhat...... chilly.
Any stats on just how many commercial launches NASA have conducted from said site ? Like Kwajalein Atoll , maybe more of a military emphasis .

Much as we would all love to see a British space launch programme up and running , I fear there is very little serious interest in the corridors of power at the moment , despite the best efforts of interested (professional ) parties . Alok Sharma teaming up with Mr Bharti does not fill one with confidence .





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Old 10th Jul 2020, 22:53
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https://bylinetimes.com/2020/06/30/u...-brexit-farce/

More perspectives on the Galileo saga . One has to think the government is juggling an awful lot of balls in the air right now as we head towards December 31st...
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Old 11th Jul 2020, 05:06
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Originally Posted by Phantom Driver View Post
https://bylinetimes.com/2020/06/30/u...-brexit-farce/

More perspectives on the Galileo saga . One has to think the government is juggling an awful lot of balls in the air right now as we head towards December 31st...
This whole sorry saga about buying a bankrupt company without any economic assessments or public consultations reminds me of the last days of the USSR. Back then they were spending billions in the arms race at the same time as the population was facing mass poverty due to shock therapy of the economy.
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Old 11th Jul 2020, 09:00
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In Brussels, the move was largely dismissed as “completely pointless” since everyone knew and experts agreed that it would be a highly irrational move from the UK to spend four or five times the money it had already invested for a worse system decades down the line. Everyone concurred that it was “just not a believable option”.
That sums up the project correctly. It is unnecessary and unaffordable.
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 06:52
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https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/l...port-ptgbp596l

Lift-off for Shetland as island wins race for UK spaceport

A remote Scottish island has won the race to be the home of the UK’s first spaceport.

Unst, on the northern tip of Shetland, is now the top choice by the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and the US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin for a commercial rocket launch site. The first launch, carrying small satellites into low Earth orbit, is set to take place next year if planning permission is given. The move is seen a major advance for Britain’s ambitions to be a key player in the burgeoning space industry.

An announcement about Shetland is due to be made later this month by the official bodies involved in the multimillion-pound project, dashing the hopes of rivals across the country.

John Neilson, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin, which was awarded £23.5 million by the UKSA to identify and develop a vertical-launch site in Britain, said: “We are proud to be working in partnership with the UK Space Agency and partners, including both Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Shetland Space Centre, to deliver a first vertical satellite launch from Scotland. Its mission will be to collect data from space that will help drive economic growth across the country.”

The news of Shetland’s success will come as a particularly heavy blow for those behind a rival £17.3 million scheme in the Highlands. It is only two months since Space Hub Sutherland received planning permission for their project.

It is understood Lockheed Martin will continue to work with the Sutherland site but is in the process of transferring the bulk of its business interests and grant funding to Shetland. Mr Neilson said: “With a project of this complexity, we continually review our plans to maximise the chance of mission success.”

It is understood the decision to focus on Shetland follows tests which showed that more than twice as many rockets, carrying a wider range of payloads, could be launched from Unst compared with Sutherland, which would be limited to 12 per year. Industry sources have said Lockheed Martin now sees the facilities as being complementary and suited for launches of different types for different clients.

A full planning application for the Shetland Space Centre is expected to go before the local authority within the next two months for three launch pads at Lamba Ness and Saxa Vord — one to be operated by Lockheed Martin and two smaller ones to be used by other interested companies. It is understood the local landowner and crofters have given the project their backing, as has the 600-strong island community.

Sutherland residents are divided over their spaceport plans and the threat to peatland and wildlife on the A’Mhoine peninsula. Scotland’s largest private landowner, Anders Povlsen, whose Wildland Limited company has estates nearby, has threatened legal action if the project, by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, goes ahead.

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Old 10th Aug 2020, 09:27
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How is this system going to be better than that already provided ? We have no current launch vehicle so would be using surprise surprise, a Russian one in the first instance. Another BJ bridge, hopefully this one maybe a little too far for him and his career.
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 10:46
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How is this system going to be better than that already provided ? We have no current launch vehicle so would be using surprise surprise, a Russian one in the first instance
Do you have any idea how many competing launcher companies there currently are for cubesats? To mention just the obvious one, Spacex is launching over 100+ a month.

In the case of the above, LM has teamed with Orbex to provide the launchers. Though I would assume the government would go out to gender and, with their volume, SpaxeX would be hard to beat. I think the government is more interested in the satellite end of the business than the fireworks end....

https://orbex.space/

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Old 10th Aug 2020, 15:33
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I think the UK is a little late to the party for GPS systems as unless we can supply something radically different and most importantly useful and reliable I can not see why some one would change from current suppliers. I take the point about the firework end but again not cheap which ever way we go.
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 07:42
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Since we have a proven UK capability in building satellites, and will shortly have a launch site in Scotland complete with launch vehicles, why did Boris/Cummings throw away £400m on buying useless second-hand satellites from a bankrupt company?
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 10:35
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Are modern launcher really that all-weather-capable? I quote from weatherspark:

"At Unst Island, the summers are short, cool, and windy; the winters are long, very cold, wet, and extremely windy; and it is mostly cloudy year round."

I appreciate the cloud cover probably isn't an issue for unmanned launches, but conditions ranging from windy to extremely windy present a bit of a challenge, don't they?

There is also the potential political obstacle that it would place space launches under the control of the Fish Woman whose life goal is to transform Scotchville into a hostile foreign power - why hand her more cudgels to beat us with?

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Old 11th Aug 2020, 11:02
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Originally Posted by Sallyann1234 View Post
Since we have a proven UK capability in building satellites, and will shortly have a launch site in Scotland complete with launch vehicles, why did Boris/Cummings throw away £400m on buying useless second-hand satellites from a bankrupt company?
Not only that, but we have to meet a very tight launch schedule otherwise we'll lose our frequency allocation. Oh, and we're currently reliant on Ariane for our launches (yup, that pan-European launch company), who are raising their prices. Oh, and we're also doing in all in partnership with the Indian businessmen Sunil Mittal. What's not to like?

Its blindingly obvious Cummings and Johnson rushed into this in a vain attempt to throw their supporters some red meat to keep them happy, given the wealth of bad news around.
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 11:11
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Sallyann1234,

I think the main driver is we get the orbits, frequencies and ground stations up front.

The 90 satellites are useful, the military always need bandwidth for voice and data and, if you remember, the US snapped up Iridium and never looked back.

For the future, cubesats are packing more and more in and a single satellite could serve multiple functions for commas, navigation, Elint etc.

Evrybody has an idea of a large satellite with large aerials - but to give an idea of how small - and I mean very small - a modern satellite transceiver can be, see here...

https://www.inverse.com/innovation/s...et-transceiver

As for GPS, as long as you have a ground station you have triangulation.

https://www.c4isrnet.com/battlefield...-a-gps-backup/

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/small...S6NextOnPad/5/

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/v...ntext=smallsat

https://spacenews.com/first-hawkeye-...nting-signals/

https://www.seradata.com/hawkeye-360...on-from-utias/

https://www.sbir.gov/node/1620975




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Old 11th Aug 2020, 11:23
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Slight difference. Iridium was and is a fully functioning network - a good investment.

The partial system that Boris bought into was failing because it required futher private investment wasn't available in the face of several competing systems. If the UK wants the system we will have to provide that extra investment.

Interesting that you mention the military. Did they ask the government to buy into this? Were they even consulted?

Last edited by Sallyann1234; 11th Aug 2020 at 11:42.
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 12:59
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https://www.aerosociety.com/news/one...se-investment/

OneWeb and the UK - a wise investment?

Pat Norris FRIN FRAeS (member of the RAeS Space Specialist Group Committee) looks at the UK proposal to invest in the OneWeb satellite constellation to create a LEO satellite navigation system.
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 13:08
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Ah fond memories of Shetland weather and explaining to our contractor why their lifting plans for 500t modules really weren't going to work in the time frames they were planning.

Here's a quote from the Shetland website:

Our average windspeed throughout the year is 16.7 mph and in January, the windiest month, it’s 20.8 mph. Even in summer, the average remains above 12 mph.

Unofficially, the RAF station at Saxa Vord in Unst holds the British wind speed record; a gust of 197 mph was recorded in 1992, after which the measuring equipment blew away. However, the maximum recorded at Lerwick is 109 mph, some way short of other places around Britain, for example, 115mph at the Isle of Wight, 124 mph in South Wales and 142 mph at Fraserburgh.
The anemometer also blew away in 1962:

However, the radar station holds the unofficial British record for wind speed, which in 1962 was recorded at 177 mph; just before the measuring equipment blew away. This was clearly well in excess of the speeds which the aerials were designed to survive. It was decided in view of such weather conditions that a radome should be built over the aerial array and, with Saxa Vord providing cover of value to NATO, the latter organisation provided the radome, while the RAF, in the form of No. 91 Signals Unit, operated the radar from 1957 onwards.
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 13:24
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Originally Posted by LowNSlow View Post
Ah fond memories of Shetland weather and explaining to our contractor why their lifting plans for 500t modules really weren't going to work in the time frames they were planning.

Here's a quote from the Shetland website:



The anemometer also blew away in 1962:
Not just the anemometer. The whole Type 80 radar head got blown off the top of the hill at Saxa Vord once. When I worked there in January 1974 they had a radome to protect the two radar installations, but even then we had to use a crawl rope to get out of the door from the radome and across the hardstanding to the (securely tied down) Landrover to get back to the station.
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 13:31
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So an ideal spaceport location then. An assessor went there to see the proposed location and was completely blown away by it...

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Old 11th Aug 2020, 13:47
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There's a reason that nothing much grows above ankle height on Unst - anything higher just gets blown away. During the time I was there I don't think the wind ever dropped much below about 30kts. Two of us tried to walk around Burra Firth and up to Hermaness, to get a view of the Muckle Flugga lighthouse, on the only relatively calm day off whilst we were there. We didn't make it, as we ended up knackered from trying to walk against the wind. Interesting anecdote; when my mother passed away a couple of years ago, we found the postcard I'd sent her whilst I was working up there. Has a neat post mark from the small post office in Haroldswick, hand franked with a stamp that reads "UK's most Northerly Post Office". There used to be an information board in the mess at Saxa Vord that had all the standard stuff about local amenities etc. Under "nearest railway station" it had Bergen, Norway listed.
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Old 11th Aug 2020, 15:32
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Originally Posted by PDR1 View Post
So an ideal spaceport location then. An assessor went there to see the proposed location and was completely blown away by it...

PDR
At least they won't have any problems achieving the required down-range launch velocities.

Perhaps we could pioneer an innovative kite-based satellite launch system?

Semi-serious question: what's the transport infrastructure like there? Rail link?
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