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Manston Space Center or Spaceport

Discussion in 'SpaceX' started by 1208, Mar 18, 2018.

  1. 1208

    1208 Active Member

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    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?
     
  2. mongo

    mongo Well-Known Member

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    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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  3. 1208

    1208 Active Member

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    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?
     
  4. mongo

    mongo Well-Known Member

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    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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  5. Grendal

    Grendal SpaceX Moderator

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    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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  6. ggr

    ggr Expert in Dunning-Kruger Effect!

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    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.
     
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  7. 1208

    1208 Active Member

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

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

     
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  8. ggr

    ggr Expert in Dunning-Kruger Effect!

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    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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  9. 1208

    1208 Active Member

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    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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  10. 1208

    1208 Active Member

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    Update:

    Most probably aren't interested but I thought I would inform those that commented on this post that Manston has now been sold to RSP (River Oak Strategic Partners) and will go back to being used as an airport once new infrastructure is built. :)
     
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  11. Grendal

    Grendal SpaceX Moderator

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    Thanks for the update.
     
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