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Manston Space Center or Spaceport

1208

Active Member
Dec 22, 2014
1,373
955
UK
I doubt any of you will have heard of this and probably aren't interested, but where I live there is an international airport that is up for sale.

Manston Airport.

Google Maps

The previous owner purchased it for £1 or $1.4.

The majority of people in the area are against losing the airport, it is an asset most places don't have. One plan being pushed is for 10,000 homes to be built on it. As is the same with every green piece of land in England at the moment, particularly the South East, and locals are worried about the impact especially as there are no jobs in the area since Pfizer all but left.
Bearing in mind it costs billions to build a new airport and acquire the land for it, it seems illogical to build houses on it.

Even before it was up for sale, I always thought it would be cool to have a space center in the area to generate science and engineering jobs, as well as to explore space. Especially as we have a Sea Port, currently without a ferry service:rolleyes:, that would allow barges to transport extremely heavy goods. We also have High Speed rail to London and are close to the Eurotunnel for links to Europe. We are surrounded by sea on 3 sides, although not much to the south. The sea is pretty shallow around the area and artificial islands could easily be made if needed for launch pads etc.

I know it is not on the shortlist for the UK Spaceport, 4 in Scotland 1 in Wales, another in Cornwall are, but I was just wondering what an outsiders view would be, as to the possibility that it could meet the criteria of a spaceport or space research center. Particularly as those of you in the USA have a lot more experience with space flight and those of you on here are interested in space exploration and may have ties with Space X or even NASA. If it met the criteria, maybe Space X would be interested in it?
 

mongo

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2017
13,961
45,295
Michigan
I doubt any of you will have heard of this and probably aren't interested, but where I live there is an international airport that is up for sale.

Manston Airport.

Google Maps

The previous owner purchased it for £1 or $1.4.

The majority of people in the area are against losing the airport, it is an asset most places don't have. One plan being pushed is for 10,000 homes to be built on it. As is the same with every green piece of land in England at the moment, particularly the South East, and locals are worried about the impact especially as there are no jobs in the area since Pfizer all but left.
Bearing in mind it costs billions to build a new airport and acquire the land for it, it seems illogical to build houses on it.

Even before it was up for sale, I always thought it would be cool to have a space center in the area to generate science and engineering jobs, as well as to explore space. Especially as we have a Sea Port, currently without a ferry service:rolleyes:, that would allow barges to transport extremely heavy goods. We also have High Speed rail to London and are close to the Eurotunnel for links to Europe. We are surrounded by sea on 3 sides, although not much to the south. The sea is pretty shallow around the area and artificial islands could easily be made if needed for launch pads etc.

I know it is not on the shortlist for the UK Spaceport, 4 in Scotland 1 in Wales, another in Cornwall are, but I was just wondering what an outsiders view would be, as to the possibility that it could meet the criteria of a spaceport or space research center. Particularly as those of you in the USA have a lot more experience with space flight and those of you on here are interested in space exploration and may have ties with Space X or even NASA. If it met the criteria, maybe Space X would be interested in it?
Location is not ideal due to overflight of populated areas. Only viable launch direction appears to be NNE towards/over Norway.
 
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1208

Active Member
Dec 22, 2014
1,373
955
UK
Location is not ideal due to overflight of populated areas. Only viable launch direction appears to be NNE towards/over Norway.

Thanks for reply.

What about other types of spacecraft such as Virgin Galactic's, which uses airplanes as a piggyback? Are they able to fly over populated areas? Is the overflight of populated areas only a problem with rockets?
 

mongo

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2017
13,961
45,295
Michigan
Thanks for reply.

What about other types of spacecraft such as Virgin Galactic's, which uses airplanes as a piggyback? Are they able to fly over populated areas? Is the overflight of populated areas only a problem with rockets?

Not sure, VG doesn't seem to be flying yet, their test site in in the desert.
I think it is a risk analysis of where the pieces would land if something goes wrong (and how big/ flammable the pieces are). Rocket full of fuel being worse than rocket empty (similar to airplane albeit less controllable). Other issue is sonic boom, so an altitude limit.
 
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Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
6,170
7,999
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Thanks for reply.

What about other types of spacecraft such as Virgin Galactic's, which uses airplanes as a piggyback? Are they able to fly over populated areas? Is the overflight of populated areas only a problem with rockets?

It's possible that VG would be interested. I'd expect that they wouldn't do anything until they have at least one operational plane and rocket glider functioning and enough demand that a second facility is needed. I'd put that at 2020+, if then.

The sellers might want this to be a spaceport but I'd say it is extremely unlikely they'd get any takers for that purpose. They should focus their efforts on a different market.
 
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1208

Active Member
Dec 22, 2014
1,373
955
UK
Huh... it wasn't until I looked it up that I realized I've been to the Spit&Hurry museum there, many many years ago. Anyway, the runway is only about 4000' long, not nearly enough to be used by Virgin Galactic.

That's cool and a coincidence that you've been to the museum.

I always thought it was a long runway, so checked and

At 2,748 m (9,016 ft) long, it has the eleventh-longest civilian runway in the United Kingdom (after Heathrow (2), Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Stansted, East Midlands, Doncaster, Prestwick and Belfast International).
 
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ggr

Expert in Dunning-Kruger Effect!
Moderator
Mar 24, 2011
7,059
28,994
San Diego, CA
That's cool and a coincidence that you've been to the museum.

I always thought it was a long runway, so checked and...~ 9000'
I was eyeballing it off the google earth picture from the first post, and thought it looked a lot smaller than that. Based on the scale at the bottom of the picture, it still looks only about 7000', but I believe you. Sorry about that. 9000' might be enough. According to this article, the first I found, about 7000' is enough, and it could well be that for a rocket launch it doesn't even need full fuel, so it might be under maximum gross weight. So I take back my argument.
 
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1208

Active Member
Dec 22, 2014
1,373
955
UK
No worries, ggr. I am grateful for your input. In fact, you making me check out its length and realising it has 11th longest runway out of about 190 airports in the whole of the UK gives me encouragement that it should have some sort of aviation future.
 
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