Spaceport at the edge of the world

What about human safety? Gordon McEwan, whose home is near the proposed launch site, is worried about the rocket falling. In a meeting with Orbex and other programmers, he shared his concern that the launch exclusion zone was too small. When the rocket takes off, the area will have a radius of less than 2 km. Orbex’s response was to trust the regulators. Chris Larmour, CEO of Orbex, told me: “You can’t just roll out things of this nature at random. “We are a highly regulated industry.” However, a Highland newspaper reported that at a space industry event in 2021, he admitted he didn’t want one in his backyard either.

According to Orbex and the development board, the economic benefits will outweigh these risks. They expect the spaceport to create about 40 jobs—from security and engineering to marketing roles—in an area with a population of several hundred. They think some workers will commute from the larger towns on the north coast, but others may settle in the Melness area, boosting school attendance. A report commissioned by the development board has predicted that in its first two years of operation, the spaceport will add several million dollars’ worth of total value to Melness and Tongue’s economy, while also generating revenue. attracts thousands of visitors—a big boost for travel.

However, spaceports are rarely the solution to the problems faced by marginalized regions, and they have a history of leaving local communities in the dust. They require sparsely populated land, usually near the equator, to benefit from the higher earth’s rotation at equatorial latitudes, or at the north or south poles, for easy access to polar orbit. As a result, they tend to be located in places like the Highlands – places that have long been considered the periphery and where the land is steeped in a history of marginalization, oppression and colonization.

For the growers, however, the spaceport has become a representation of their independence. Melness will need some development if it wants to survive. Faced with a choice between another land-owning capitalist and a spaceport, growers tend to sided with the spaceport.

Despite their disagreements with Povlsen, many of the residents I spoke with felt a deep sense of empathy for him when on Easter Sunday 2019, he and his family were among the victims of the beating. bomb at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sri Lanka. Three of Povlsen’s four children were killed. The church in Tongue held a special ceremony, and the townspeople came to offer their condolences.

In August 2019, Pritchard and the mowers reached an agreement with the development board: 12 launches per year, with a base rent of £70,000 (about $85,000) a year. Opposition began to emerge. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds opposed the project, as did 1,075 people sign a petition against the spaceport. Povlsen also voiced his objection. His 62-page report argues that the spaceport can disrupt the bird’s breeding season and damage everything from water quality to the appearance of the soil. It said that another proposed spaceport was in a better location, that the spaceport would harm the peatlands, that the economic benefits were overstated. In the end, the Highland Council’s planning committee granted the spaceport license in a unanimous decision—but Pritchard didn’t celebrate. She may have felt the war against Povlsen had only just begun.

Povlsen quickly filed a lawsuit, asking the Scottish Sessions Court to rescind the permission and pay the legal fees for the three undercuts in another legal case. “Should we not develop along the North Coast unless they have permission from Mr. Povlsen?” Pritchard wrote on a Facebook page. “To take that opportunity away from our young people is unforgivable.”

Then, in November 2020, Povlsen invested £1.43 million in a competitive spaceport project in the Shetland Islands. That site wasn’t surrounded by peat bogs, but the growers were furious. “If it’s really an environmental issue,” said Pritchard, “why did he build a much larger spaceport with three launchpads and a larger rocket?”


News7g: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button