Author Topic: SaxaVord Spaceport  (Read 9052 times)

Offline jebbo

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SaxaVord Spaceport
« on: 01/15/2023 06:00 am »
Given construction is underway, and RFA have announced they will be using it, it seems time for a dedicated thread (as requested by trimeta).

Apparently, 30 launches a year are planned, with three launch pads.

https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/uk-news/2022/11/23/construction-on-uks-first-vertical-rocket-launch-site-ahead-of-schedule/

--- Tony

Offline PM3

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #1 on: 01/15/2023 06:43 am »
Orbital rockets that are to be launched from SaxaVord:

ABL RS1 - 2023  - "UK Pathfinder Launch", first orbital launch from Scotland - Spacenews

RFA One - 2023

Venture Orbital Zephyr - 2024 - SaxVord announcement

HyImpulse SL1 - 2024 - SaxaVord and HyImpulse announcements

SaxaVord is becoming the leading spaceport in Europe. It has outperformed Sutherland Spaceport, e. g. ABL switched from Sutherland to SaxaVord.

ABL is the only one with a realistic (but still aspirational) UK launch date. All the other will slip to later years.
"Never, never be afraid of the truth." -- Jim Bridenstine

Offline trimeta

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #2 on: 01/15/2023 06:51 am »
My index of companies which have at some point shown interest in launching from SaxaVord (these companies may have changed plans since the linked news articles/press releases, not a guarantee of future plans), which expands slightly on PM3's list:

ABL (in conjunction with Lockheed Martin)
Skyrora
RFA
HyImpulse
Latitude (née Venture Orbital Systems)
Astra
C6 Launch Systems

I suppose I could also have just linked this article which mentions all seven too, but showing the most recent info for each gives a sense of how realistic they each are.

Side-note, Skyrora also originally said they were ambivalent between Sutherland and SaxaVord, before making a multi-launch commitment with SaxaVord. So it's not just ABL which weighed both options and went here.
« Last Edit: 01/15/2023 06:58 am by trimeta »

Offline ringsider

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #3 on: 01/16/2023 05:58 pm »
It looks like the emerging European small launch industry is solidifying, with one anchor launcher client per spaceport:

- Isar Aerospace -> Andoya (Norway)

- Rocket Factory Augsburg -> Shetland (UK)

- OrbEx -> Sutherland (UK)

- ArianeGroup Themis (aka Maiaspace) -> Esrange (Sweden) for testing + Guyana for launch

It's not clear if Skyrora has a chair after the music stops, we will see.

Of those four groups, the most critical question is: who has money?

- Isar Aerospace + Andoya: Isar last raised money around ~2 years ago, during The Good Times, so may be out looking for more money now, in a pretty awful moment for fundraising for unfinished space rockets. Andoya seems well funded by the Norwegian state.

- Rocket Factory Augsburg + Shetland: RFA seems to be drip-fed a few millions at a time from the OHB parent. Shetland unclear but is pouring concrete at least.

- OrbEx + Sutherland: raised approx. $50m-60m late 2022 for a much smaller launcher, self-funding Sutherland construction apparently.

- ArianeGroup / Maiaspace + Esrange: no issues, lots of cash.

Place your bets.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #4 on: 01/16/2023 10:33 pm »
It looks like the emerging European small launch industry is solidifying, with one anchor launcher client per spaceport:
- Isar Aerospace & RFA -> Andoya (Norway)
- Esrange (= Suborbital like Spaceport America)
Launches from Esrange will pass a No crash zone in Norway. I guess this means a requirement of >99% succes rate @ >50 flights. Norway will argue: just use Andoya.
Esrange LZ-3 will be like Spaceport America. Europe can use it to do hundreds of hopper tests. The facility will be used to develop stage landing technology. Also required for lunar and Martian landers. So the LZ-3 facility LZ-3A & -3B will enable European robotic exploration. I don't expect the orbital launch zone LZ-3C will get developed. The launch capability of Andoya, SaxaVord, Suderland and CSG surpass launch demand. 

I think ISAR, RFA and Orbex will reach operational status in the coming three years.
I expect US launch service providers to annoy European ones, by stealing launch slots from EU launch sites.
While the US only purpose is to eliminate competition.

Most likely at CSG / France Guiana, similar facilities to SaxaVord and Andoya will be build.
So two or three launch sites for mini/micro launchers. For lower inclination small satellite launches.
I expect ISAR and RFA will want to use them. But France prefers France launch companies or Spanish ones.
 
Avio will most likely launch their micro launcher demo from the ELV (Vega) launch pad when it has been modified for Vega-E. VEGA E 3th stage; VUS (1x M10/Myra engine) will be used for both Vega E and Microlauncher demo (x*M10 + VUS) Possibly Z40 gets lengthened for a P50-60 + VUS launcher. 
I expect Vega Next gen to have a single 0.6MN engine upperstage, on top of P160 or a multi-engine (x*M60) first stage. For Maia space I don't see a market with their current proposals, except for the heavy. Hopefully Maia and Avio are going to collaborate.

I think HyImpulse will launch SR-75 from SaxaVord and Esrange. I don't think they'll get SR-1 operational.
Most likely (hopefully) Nammo Northstar/Envol is more successful. Will likely launch from Andoya & Esrange.

My expectation is that only two to four European orbital launch companies can service longterm besides ArianeGroup and Avio. Launch demand isn't high enough. UK companies have a higher chance to service because of being from the UK. Launchers with orbital and suborbital / hopper versions probably also are more likely to survive.
Orbital launch will remain higher than suborbital, but the growth of suborbital will be higher than orbital.
Only CSG will have a launch rate limitation, the launch capability for the other sites is larger than the launch demand.

Offline trimeta

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #5 on: 01/16/2023 11:34 pm »
Most likely (hopefully) Nammo Northstar/Envol is more successful. Will likely launch from Andoya & Esrange.
Is Nammo even still working on Northstar? Obviously, more appropriate to ask in the dedicated thread (and I'd be happy if the mods move this side-conversation there), but last I checked they'd wiped all mention of the Northstar program from their website (this page about their hybrid propulsion projects has been 404'ed for a while, for example).

Offline Yggdrasill

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #6 on: 01/17/2023 08:38 am »
Is Nammo even still working on Northstar? Obviously, more appropriate to ask in the dedicated thread (and I'd be happy if the mods move this side-conversation there), but last I checked they'd wiped all mention of the Northstar program from their website (this page about their hybrid propulsion projects has been 404'ed for a while, for example).
Doesn't seem like it. The space division might be too busy with HERACLES, and Nammo in general is quite busy with contracts for ammunition, given the current geopolitical situation.

My understanding is that a lot of the branching out from ammunition was rooted in low demand for ammunition. That has now changed.

Offline moontomars

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #7 on: 01/18/2023 12:47 pm »
Bringing in a bit more context to what is a really great story behind the spaceport:

Long-story short: SaxaVord was founded and is being built by, at its core, a group of locals, with a broad range of backgrounds - aviation, defense, oil & gas - that jumped onto this opportunity in 2018. The funding is up until last year almost exclusively private and non-public (we estimate roughly GBP 25 - 30 million so far), very different from the government ports in ESRANGE, Sweden, or Andoya, Norway. The average age of the directors at the time of founding was over 60 (!).

They had huge ups and downs, first with Lockheed leaning towards Sutherland and then switching to SaxaVord in 2020, and also a shady investment which they had to unwind in early 2020.

Regarding the port:
- there will be 3 launch pads, 2 of which are being built already
- up to 10 launches per year per pad, so 30 launches per year total (suborbital and orbital)
- maximum payload capacity is 1,500 kg per launch, so maximum potential of 45,000 kg per year once finished (caveat: pad 1&2 will be smaller than #3, so this could be revised down)
- satellite ground station, which is already partially operational (currently using the local airfield, will be moved to the site)

Overview of the full launch complex:


Closer look at the largest launch pad 3, named "Elizabeth" after the late queen:


A nice video with a flyover that shows the location and surrounding scenery:


If you're curious about the full story, with a lot more background on the people, the spaceport and the business behind it, here's my writeup: https://moontomars.space/space-port/saxavord-spaceport/

Really looking forward to seeing this one literally "take off"

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #8 on: 11/08/2023 02:38 pm »
https://twitter.com/nasaspaceflight/status/1722261127244156933

Quote
Great news as the UK prepares for launches from Scottish soil:

Launch service provider RFA UK (Rocket Factory Ltd) has received £3.5 million from the UK Space Agency. The funding was awarded as part of the European Space Agency (ESA), Boost! Programme.

RFA UK will use the funding to develop and operate the infrastructure and test equipment needed to enable them to launch the RFA ONE launch system.

The first launch from SaxaVord Spaceport is planned for Q2 2024.

RFA AG will have exclusive access to the SaxaVord’s ‘Fredo’ launch pad from where it plans to provide a regular cadence of launch services as one of the spaceport’s anchor customers.

Measuring 30 meters tall and 2 meters wide, the RFA ONE launch vehicle is a three-stage launch vehicle capable of deploying up to 1,300 kg to a 500  km polar orbit.

The rocket uses efficient and environmentally friendly Helix staged-combustion engines, stainless steel tanks and standardized components from other industries to offer flexible, low-cost and precise transportation into orbit with its Redshift OTV.

twitter.com/esa_transport/status/1722152399219868082

Quote
ESA further boosts @rfa_space across Europe. 🚀

RFA One is an orbital vehicle that will have three stages and be launched from @SaxaVord_Space in the UK.
30 m tall and 2 m in diameter, RFA One targets a deployment capability of up to 1300 kg to a 500 km polar orbit.

Offline microbrew

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #9 on: 11/10/2023 08:07 pm »
I think ISAR, RFA and Orbex will reach operational status in the coming three years.

Agree.

Quote
I expect US launch service providers to annoy European ones, by stealing launch slots from EU launch sites.
While the US only purpose is to eliminate competition.

This is why the Orbex strategy to own a single user spaceport, like Rocket Lab, makes sense. They won't be constrained by sharing capacity, and it is probably cheaper to own rather than rent after a relatively small number of launches, especially when Saxavord is planning to charge £1m launch and make a 48% margin on that price (see image):



At that price Orbex probably justifies the cost of their own spaceport in a relatively small number of launches.

Quote
My expectation is that only two to four European orbital launch companies can service longterm besides ArianeGroup and Avio. Launch demand isn't high enough.

Each of the other survivors will end up paying for their spaceport "slots" at full customer rental prices in perpetuity, while Orbex will have already amortized the spaceport and gained a significant a operational cost advantage.

Offline PM3

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #10 on: 11/10/2023 08:28 pm »
So far there are only two rocket builders that have commited to SaxaVord and seem to be on a good way to build a working orbital rocket before running out of money. These are exactly the two whose first SaxaVord launch is sponsored by the UK Space Agency: RFA and ABL.

Regarding the question which European small launchers will survive on the long run, my bet is on RFA One and on ArianeGroup's reusable Maia rocket, which will be made in France and likely launch from Kourou. So there should be no congestion at SaxaVord's planned three launch pads.
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Offline microbrew

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #11 on: 11/12/2023 09:00 am »
So far there are only two rocket builders that have commited to SaxaVord and seem to be on a good way to build a working orbital rocket before running out of money.

The funding for Saxavord is drying up. The big loan Strang siad he had "signed" has vanished, or never existed. Last injection of money was a meagre £2m 4 months ago. Most work has stopped, people complaining about not being paid. Bankers are doing the rounds, an outfit called Downgate(?). Probably trying to get some govt money to survive at the mo. No licence, despite being "weeks away" in June (https://www.insider.co.uk/news/shetland-spaceport-weeks-away-recognition-30304356).

Quote
These are exactly the two whose first SaxaVord launch is sponsored by the UK Space Agency: RFA and ABL.

Virgin Orbit's launch was also sponsored by UKSA. How did that seal of quality work out for them?

RFA has riased less money than Isar and Orbex and is two years behind at least one of them. That KKR money has not yet arrived, and if it has it's partial and if that then it's a loan - they issued another convertible loan bond for just €15m in Sept., which is about their 10th converitible loan. Their 2021 books show that more than one third of their 128 staff (48 people) were interns, and it's common knowledge they were payng interns around €850 a month and some were working bar jobs in teh evenings. Another seal of quality.

Quote
Regarding the question which European small launchers will survive on the long run, my bet is on RFA One and on ArianeGroup's reusable Maia rocket, which will be made in France and likely launch from Kourou. So there should be no congestion at SaxaVord's planned three launch pads.

"Planned" ::)

There's a an old Shetland business plan floating aorund showing 20 launches happening in 2023 at a revenue of £18m...  Will dig it out for the lolz.

Offline PM3

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #12 on: 11/12/2023 11:56 am »
(https://www.insider.co.uk/news/shetland-spaceport-weeks-away-recognition-30304356).

"Owner Frank Strang, who along with his wife Debbie and a small team built the privately-funded spaceport, says the first launch will be “two fingers to the people who tried to put us out of business”.

👍

And:

Quote
A United Kingdom House of Commons report published this month criticized the government’s approval of new spaceports and satellite launches as being excessively slow and bureaucratic, and it urged rapid action to streamline regulations to secure the nation’s status in the booming launch industry.
https://parabolicarc.com/2023/08/01/house-report-urges-rapid-improvements-uk-spaceport-launch-licensing/
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Offline microbrew

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #13 on: 11/12/2023 01:40 pm »
A United Kingdom House of Commons report published this month criticized the government’s approval of new spaceports and satellite launches as being excessively slow and bureaucratic, and it urged rapid action to streamline regulations to secure the nation’s status in the booming launch industry.

https://parabolicarc.com/2023/08/01/house-report-urges-rapid-improvements-uk-spaceport-launch-licensing/

Great refernece, thanks for that:

"Witnesses testified that despite the problems, the CAA has made progress in its handling of license applications. Representatives from SaxaVord Spaceport, which is under construction in Scotland, testified they have a very good relationship with CAA officials and that licensing was progressing without any problems."

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #14 on: 11/12/2023 01:42 pm »
Is there any commercial launch sites that make a profit? Most sites are government run  and whiling charging launch services fee,  doubt its are enough to cover site operating costs.


Offline trimeta

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #15 on: 11/12/2023 05:44 pm »
Is there any commercial launch sites that make a profit? Most sites are government run  and whiling charging launch services fee,  doubt its are enough to cover site operating costs.
Are there any commercial launch sites that are actually, y'know, launching? Other than Mahia, but obviously that site is just one part of Rocket Lab's holdings and isn't trying to be profitable on its own.

Although speaking of Rocket Lab, I guess Wallops is somewhat commercial, right? I can't recall the specifics there.

(And I guess I'm probably neglecting other sites which exclusively launch suborbital payloads...I don't know how profitable those are.)

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #16 on: 11/13/2023 10:07 am »
.....
Although speaking of Rocket Lab, I guess Wallops is somewhat commercial, right? I can't recall the specifics there.
.....
IIRC the state of Virginia more or less runs the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport.

Offline edzieba

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #17 on: 11/13/2023 10:35 am »
.....
Although speaking of Rocket Lab, I guess Wallops is somewhat commercial, right? I can't recall the specifics there.
.....
IIRC the state of Virginia more or less runs the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport.
Same with Alaska owning Kodiak.

Offline Yggdrasill

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #18 on: 11/13/2023 12:31 pm »
Boca Chica? Though that too isn't trying to make money on it's own.

Offline PM3

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #19 on: 11/14/2023 03:13 pm »
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1724438977749372965

Quote from: Jeff Foust
Alan Thompson of Skyrora says at Space Tech Expo Europe that they hope to get a UK CAA license by the spring of 2024 for a second suborbital test flight, this time from SaxaVord. (The first launch last year from Iceland was… less than successful.)

The stakes in SaxaVord are too high for a failure, too many parties need or want it. Including the UK Space Agency, right? This will work out in some way.

...

But well, this is a blow for SaxaVord:

https://hyimpulse.de/Press_Release/PRESS%20RELEASE%20_%20HYIMPULSE%20_NOV2023_SL.pdf

Quote
Suborbital Rocket Launch Site and Launch Window confirmed


Tuesday, 14th of November 2023
At Space Tech Expo in Bremen, Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp and HyImpulse
Technologies co-CEO Christian Schmierer confirmed the launch window of the SR75.
This signals the greenlight for the German-based company HyImpulse to launch their
suborbital rocket SR75 from Southern Launch’s Koonibba Test Range in March 2024.
The transportation of the launch hardware will commence shortly and preparations for
the launch campaign are ramping up in the final phase.

Because, as of February 2, 2021:

Quote
HyImpulse Technologies plans to begin engine testing and launching sub-orbital sounding rockets in Shetland this year with a view to a maiden orbital flight in 2023.

https://saxavord.com/german-rocket-maker-plans-to-launch-from-unst/
« Last Edit: 11/14/2023 05:50 pm by PM3 »
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Offline microbrew

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #20 on: 11/14/2023 06:36 pm »
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1724438977749372965

Quote from: Jeff Foust
Alan Thompson of Skyrora says at Space Tech Expo Europe that they hope to get a UK CAA license by the spring of 2024 for a second suborbital test flight, this time from SaxaVord. (The first launch last year from Iceland was… less than successful.)

The stakes in SaxaVord are too high for a failure, too many parties need or want it. Including the UK Space Agency, right? This will work out in some way.

It's possible neither of these sub-orbital launchers requires a full UK Space Industyr Act launch license. Sub-orbital can be launched under the CAA Air Navigation Order rules in most circumstances. Still ran by the CAA but much less stringent.

Saxo probably doesn't need a spaceport license for that to happen either, altogh it will be heralded as the Second Coming of Christ no doubt. Meanwhile good old Benbecula in the W. Isles has been doing sub-orbital dfor decades.

More interesting IMHO is the race for proper orbital. There's only three players at th front of that rcae today; RFA, Isar and Orbex.

Offline microbrew

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #21 on: 11/20/2023 10:00 am »
https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/work-shetland-space-port-grinds-31473181

Work at taxpayer funded Scots space port grinds to halt as bills go unpaid.

The site in Shetland owes around £1m to a contractor and a rocket launch has been cancelled.

Construction of Scotland’s new taxpayer-subsidised space port on Shetland has ground to a halt with contractors unpaid and a rocket launch cancelled.

MPs were told earlier this year by Frank Strang, the chief executive of the site’s owners, SaxaVord, how he had secured a £139million debt facility and hoped to launch test flights into orbit within months.

But we can reveal a construction company involved in the project has been left around £1million out of pocket with work now at a virtual standstill.

Shetland-based DITT declined to comment but sources have confirmed its bills have not been paid.

A source said: “This is a huge construction project and you need to have the money to complete it.

“No doubt the space centre could be a success but it is not guaranteed and investors clearly aren’t lining up to put money in.

“DITT’s bills stopped being paid and so the company had no choice but to stop work until things are resolved. It would be great to see rockets blasting off into outer space from Shetland, but at the moment it seems more pie in the sky.”

Building work began in March 2022 with more than 60 workers on site, but by August few remained with Strang claiming contractors were being given “time off because the project was so far ahead of schedule”.

Danish billionaire Anders Polvson has invested in the project and in December 2022 it emerged SaxaVord had won £378,000 funding from the UK Space Agency.

In May this year Strang told the Science, Innovation, and Technology Committee that he had secured a £139million debt facility “from the markets”.

German rocket firm HyImpulse Technologies has signed a letter of intent to conduct orbital flights from SaxaVord and has insisted it remains committed to the site. However it has been forced to move the maiden flight of its suborbital SR75 rocket from Shetland to Australia.

A spokesman for SaxaVord said: “We do not comment on contractual matters. The overall project is firmly on track.

“SaxaVord continues to have excellent dialogue with the authorities and is fully expecting to receive its spaceport licence very soon from the Civil Aviation Authority. We are looking forward to hosting vertical rocket launches in the coming months.”

Meanwhile reviews on travel website Trip Advisor suggest tourists have been left puzzled by the lack of activity on what was expected to be a NASA style site.

One traveller from Dallas, Texas, posted in May 2022: “No fence, gate or warning notices so we drove in to look at a bunch of derelict ex military buildings that were almost falling down. If this really is the future UK space site, then they need to get their act together.

Another post in May 2023, said: “Finding the port was not easy but having found it there was nothing there to see."

In 2019 we revealed Strang transferred a £610,000 public loan to another of his firms before it was liquidated.

The former RAF officer’s Shetland FM, which managed accommodation for offshore workers, collapsed with a huge sum outstanding to government quango Highlands and Islands Enterprises. Accounts for Shetland FM showed it transferred the six-figure loan to another of Strang’s companies, Saxa Vord Limited, in July 2017.

We also revealed how a major former investor in the space port, Michael Haston had previously been accused of fraud. He went to court in a failed attempt to stop the Sunday Mail revealing his past and has now been banned from being a company director.

The SaxaVord space site has cut all ties with the businessman after we revealed details of his chequered dealings.

Dozens of people lost millions after investing in a finance company run by Haston, who also goes by the name Michael McQueen.

--

Tabloid hyperbole aside, not exactly great news...

Offline DJPledger

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #22 on: 11/20/2023 11:13 am »
Goes to show there is no future in small LV's since they can't compete in price per unit mass to orbit with larger LV's and F9 rideshare taking away most of the smallsat launch market. Once SS achieves IOC then it is game over for small LV's.

SaxaVord Spaceport with either get abandoned or be upgraded to take at least MLV's.

Offline trimeta

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #23 on: 11/20/2023 07:51 pm »
Goes to show there is no future in small LV's since they can't compete in price per unit mass to orbit with larger LV's and F9 rideshare taking away most of the smallsat launch market. Once SS achieves IOC then it is game over for small LV's.

SaxaVord Spaceport with either get abandoned or be upgraded to take at least MLV's.
Going from "one financially-shaky commercial multi-tenant launch site is having further funding issues" to "and therefore small launch vehicles are a failure, full stop" is quite a take. Especially when there are apparently no examples of a successful commercial multi-tenant orbital launch site. Perhaps it's that part which is a problem. Or something specific to SaxaVord.

Offline jstrotha0975

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #24 on: 11/20/2023 08:38 pm »
Why did England spend money and resources on 3 launch sites when they should concentrate on one launch site at a time?

Offline trimeta

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #25 on: 11/20/2023 11:26 pm »
Why did England spend money and resources on 3 launch sites when they should concentrate on one launch site at a time?
Calling Cornwall a "launch site" is probably being generous...I'm not sure how much of the "development" there was basically working out the regulatory procedures for launch in general, which would transfer to any other launch sites mostly verbatim.

Offline AnalogMan

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #26 on: 12/17/2023 12:14 pm »
SaxaVord granted spaceport licence by UK Civil Aviation Authority
December 17, 2023

https://www.caa.co.uk/newsroom/news/saxavord-granted-spaceport-licence-by-uk-civil-aviation-authority/

At a glance

    • SaxaVord has become the UK’s first licensed vertical launch spaceport.
    • New spaceport licence from the UK Civil Aviation Authority paves the way for rocket launches on UK soil from 2024.
    • The licence was granted following rigorous safety, security, and environmental assessment by the UK’s space regulator.

The UK officially has a brand-new spaceport following SaxaVord, on the North Coast of the Shetland Islands, receiving a licence from the UK Civil Aviation Authority

The licence marks several firsts for the UK’s growing space sector including being the first-ever vertical spaceport on UK soil. The spaceport is also the first fully licensed vertical spaceport in Western Europe.

SaxaVord has been assessed by the space regulator to verify that appropriate safety, security, and environmental criteria are met to operate a spaceport, and that it has the suitable infrastructure, equipment, and services to accommodate vertical space launches.

The spaceport licence puts Scotland at the forefront of the European launch market, with Scottish satellites already in space, and home-grown rocket companies breaking new ground. There are a number of launch operators from around the world currently developing rockets to launch from SaxaVord who are currently at various stages of the assessment process with the Civil Aviation Authority.
[…]

Also:

Shetland is first UK spaceport for vertical rocket launches
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-67741864

Spaceport Licence attached.
« Last Edit: 12/17/2023 12:21 pm by AnalogMan »

Offline starbase

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #27 on: 12/17/2023 02:00 pm »
Quote from: AnalogMan

Also:

Shetland is first UK spaceport for vertical rocket launches
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-67741864

Spaceport Licence attached.

The BBC article contains this part:

"Full orbital launches are expected to take place at SaxaVord from 2025."
bit.ly/SpaceLaunchCalendar ☆ bit.ly/SpaceEventCalendar

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #28 on: 12/17/2023 02:17 pm »
https://twitter.com/saxavord_space/status/1736393982811181084

Quote
We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded our spaceport licence by the UK Civil Aviation Authority. Read on 👇for all the details.

https://saxavord.com/saxavord-granted-spaceport-licence-by-civil-aviation-authority/

Quote
SaxaVord granted spaceport licence by Civil Aviation Authority
December 17, 2023
General, News

A significant historic milestone has been achieved by SaxaVord Spaceport with the award of a licence by the Civil Aviation Authority.

It becomes the first licensed vertical launch spaceport in the UK and Western Europe following extensive assessment by the space regulator to check that appropriate safety, security and environmental criteria are met, and that SaxaVord has suitable infrastructure, equipment and services to accommodate vertical space launches.

CEO Frank Strang said: “The award of our spaceport licence is both historic for Shetland, Scotland and the UK and places us firmly at the leading edge of the European and global space economy.

“As importantly for me it is also a fantastic achievement by our Operations and Licencing Team led by Scott Hammond who have been working tirelessly alongside the CAA for almost three years to secure this award.

“Our team is very proud that the Government has entrusted us with operating a complex, multi-disciplinary and multi-launch spaceport and we all take this responsibility very seriously.

“There is much to do still but this is a fantastic way to end the year and head into Christmas.”

SaxaVord has a roster of clients including Rocket Factory Augsburg, HyImpulse, Lockheed Martin/ABL Systems and Skyrora.

The spaceport licence puts Scotland at the forefront of the European launch market, with Scottish satellites already in space, and home-grown rocket companies breaking new ground.

There are a number of launch operators from around the world currently developing rockets to launch from SaxaVord who are currently at various stages of the assessment process with the Civil Aviation Authority.

The not-too-distant future could see Scottish built rockets launching Scottish satellites from a Scottish spaceport. The licence permits SaxaVord to host up to 30 launches a year, allowing the spaceport to grow as the UK space sector continues to expand.

Tim Johnson, Director of Space Regulation at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “Granting SaxaVord their licence is an era defining moment for the UK space sector.

“This marks the beginning of a new chapter for UK space as rockets may soon launch satellites into orbit from Scotland.

“We are undertaking vital work to make sure the UK’s space activities are safe and sustainable for all.”

Now that it is licensed SaxaVord will be subject to an ongoing monitoring programme by the UK Civil Aviation Authority to ensure safety is maintained and the terms of its licence are not breached. 

This latest licence is the 352nd space activity approved by the UK Civil Aviation Authority since becoming the UK’s space regulator in July 2021. The regulator now monitors more than 750 different satellites, has licensed two spaceports, a launch from Cornwall, and the OneWeb constellation which is the second biggest satellite constellation in orbit.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “The United Kingdom’s space industry is growing, with SaxaVord set for lift off to become this country’s first vertical spaceport.

“Today’s historic announcement will boost Shetland’s economy and put the United Kingdom at the forefront of spaceflight innovation.”

This activity is supporting an ever-growing space industry estimated to be worth £17.5 billion and support 48,800 jobs, with over 2200 space companies based in the UK. The UK space sector is a rapidly expanding and vital part of the UK economy.

The licence also follows last week’s announcement of £3.4 million UK Space Agency funding for HyImpulse UK, a Shetland based launch company to undertake their Hybrid Propulsion Test Programme ahead of the proposed launch of their launch vehicle, named SL1, from SaxaVord Spaceport in Unst.

Matt Archer, Director of Launch, UK Space Agency said: “The granting of SaxaVord’s spaceport licence by the UK Civil Aviation Authority is a hugely exciting milestone as we look forward to the first vertical launches from UK soil in the coming year.

“Getting to this stage is testament to the hard work by SaxaVord Spaceport and partners across government which moves us towards realising our ambitions for the UK to be the leading provider of small satellite launch in Europe by 2030.

“Establishing orbital launch capabilities in the UK is already bringing new jobs and investment opportunities to local communities as well as inspiring the next generation to join our growing space sector.”

Scottish Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead MSP said: “This milestone heralds a new era for space in Scotland. As the UK’s first licensed vertical spaceport, SaxaVord and Scotland can soon be a gateway to space, deploying cutting edge small satellites into orbit for international and domestic customers alike. 

“Space continues to be a great opportunity for Scotland; including for our economic development, the key role it plays in helping us fight the climate crisis and the power it has to inspire discovery and innovation in the next generation.

“The Scottish Government’s aim for Scotland to become a multi-billion pound industry and Europe’s leading space nation has taken a significant step towards becoming a reality. We will continue to build on our strengths that include an innovative and diverse engineering base and world-class companies competing in international markets.”

SaxaVord is also establishing the Space Environment Climate Control Centre to drive a responsible attitude to climate and the environment. Known as SaxaZero, it will monitor the spaceport’s impact on the natural environment as well as push for innovation in space industry sustainability. SaxaZero will also promote the use of satellite data in conservation and by companies seeking to understand their impact on nature and lower costs and emissions.
« Last Edit: 12/17/2023 02:17 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline PM3

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #29 on: 12/17/2023 02:55 pm »
The BBC article contains this part:

"Full orbital launches are expected to take place at SaxaVord from 2025."

What is a "full orbital launch", compared to a nonfull orbital launch? RFA's aspirational plan is two sponsored demo launches from SaxaVord in 2024, then paying customers' payloads from 2025. So I assume the latter are those "full" launches?
"Never, never be afraid of the truth." -- Jim Bridenstine

Offline Euromir

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #30 on: 12/17/2023 07:47 pm »
Hope they allow viewing from public maybe, cant ever get to the USA, so maybe just maybe can drive to Shetlands..
« Last Edit: 12/17/2023 07:47 pm by Euromir »

Offline catdlr

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #31 on: 12/17/2023 10:00 pm »
I'm so happy for this,  good luck to them

Tony De La Rosa, ...I'm no Feline Dealer!! I move mountains.  but I'm better known for "I think it's highly sexual." Japanese to English Translation.

Offline Craigles

Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #32 on: 12/17/2023 11:15 pm »
Hope they allow viewing from public maybe, cant ever get to the USA, so maybe just maybe can drive to Shetlands..
That is essentially correct; you can drive to the Shetland Islands. Northlink Ferries has overnight service to get you from Aberdeen Scotland to Shetland Island, 7 nights a week. From Shetland Island, the Toft-Ulsta Ferry and the Gutcher-Belmont Ferry can move your car short distances to the northern tip of the Shetland Islands where you will find Saxavord.

Bon Voyage!  ;) You have great plans for a vacation there.
I'd rather be here now

Offline Asteroza

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #33 on: 12/18/2023 12:50 am »
The BBC article contains this part:

"Full orbital launches are expected to take place at SaxaVord from 2025."

What is a "full orbital launch", compared to a nonfull orbital launch? RFA's aspirational plan is two sponsored demo launches from SaxaVord in 2024, then paying customers' payloads from 2025. So I assume the latter are those "full" launches?

Well we can do the no true scotsman full orbital launches meme, but SaxaVord is technically part of Scotland so...

Offline Phil Stooke

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #34 on: 12/18/2023 10:28 pm »
"What is a "full orbital launch", compared to a nonfull orbital launch?"

The word suborbital springs to mind.  Full orbital isn't suborbital.

Offline PM3

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #35 on: 12/19/2023 07:44 am »
"What is a "full orbital launch", compared to a nonfull orbital launch?"

The word suborbital springs to mind.  Full orbital isn't suborbital.

Then BBC just said that neither RFA nor ABL will launch from SaxaVord in 2024. Because those will definitely be orbital launch attempts. Very unusual that a news outlet trashes launch schedules this way, without any hint that and why they are doing so.

Possible explanations:

- BBC actually has a well informed source which told them that there will be no orbital launches from SaxaVord in 2024, but was not aware what this means (that it is important news, as it means that RFA and everybody else are publishing nonsense schedules).

- They actually meant "commercial orbital launches".

- They thought that the RFA demo launches announced for 2024 are not "full" in some way because they are "demo".

- Somone confused 2024 with 2025.

- Someone did a pessimistic estimate because he doesn't like the idea that the first successful orbital launch from British soil could be a German rocket.

I think it is both the second and third one. News author did not have full understanding of launch business and orbital mechanics, which resulted in some nonfull news gibberish. (Though the assumption of a first orbital launch from SaxaVord in 2025 is reasonable because of aspirational schedules. But this conclusion needs lots of understanding of rocket business, and some explanation instead of just dropping a date.)
"Never, never be afraid of the truth." -- Jim Bridenstine

Offline litton4

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #36 on: 12/19/2023 10:03 am »
Hope they allow viewing from public maybe, cant ever get to the USA, so maybe just maybe can drive to Shetlands..
That is essentially correct; you can drive to the Shetland Islands. Northlink Ferries has overnight service to get you from Aberdeen Scotland to Shetland Island, 7 nights a week. From Shetland Island, the Toft-Ulsta Ferry and the Gutcher-Belmont Ferry can move your car short distances to the northern tip of the Shetland Islands where you will find Saxavord.

Bon Voyage!  ;) You have great plans for a vacation there.

They also have a Gin and Whisky distillery there.....after our visit/tour, we were followed by a police car back across two ferries before they finally turned off, just watching the Lotus, I guess  ;D
« Last Edit: 12/19/2023 10:05 am by litton4 »
Dave Condliffe

Offline AnalogMan

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #37 on: 12/19/2023 12:15 pm »
"What is a "full orbital launch", compared to a nonfull orbital launch?"

The word suborbital springs to mind.  Full orbital isn't suborbital.

Then BBC just said that neither RFA nor ABL will launch from SaxaVord in 2024. Because those will definitely be orbital launch attempts. Very unusual that a news outlet trashes launch schedules this way, without any hint that and why they are doing so.

[…]

I believe the 2025 reference for orbital launches refers only to HyImpulse (who made an announcement jointly with SaxaVord about their future plans back in November - https://saxavord.com/saxavord-and-hyimpulse-announce-launch-plans ).

The BBC have this annoying habit of making every sentence a new paragraph, breaking apart comments related to the same idea or thought or fact.

The BBC previously referred to 2024 orbital launches by RFA and Lockheed/ABL in an article posted on November 15, 2023:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-67426303

"Another German company, Rocket Factory Ausburg (RFA), is also planning an orbital launch early next year, followed by a Lockheed Martin/ABL Space Systems launch later in 2024."

Offline ringsider

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #38 on: 12/22/2023 02:33 pm »
"What is a "full orbital launch", compared to a nonfull orbital launch?"

The word suborbital springs to mind.  Full orbital isn't suborbital.

Then BBC just said that neither RFA nor ABL will launch from SaxaVord in 2024. Because those will definitely be orbital launch attempts. Very unusual that a news outlet trashes launch schedules this way, without any hint that and why they are doing so.

Possible explanations:

- BBC actually has a well informed source which told them that there will be no orbital launches from SaxaVord in 2024, but was not aware what this means (that it is important news, as it means that RFA and everybody else are publishing nonsense schedules).

- They actually meant "commercial orbital launches".

- They thought that the RFA demo launches announced for 2024 are not "full" in some way because they are "demo".

- Somone confused 2024 with 2025.

- Someone did a pessimistic estimate because he doesn't like the idea that the first successful orbital launch from British soil could be a German rocket.

I think it is both the second and third one. News author did not have full understanding of launch business and orbital mechanics, which resulted in some nonfull news gibberish. (Though the assumption of a first orbital launch from SaxaVord in 2025 is reasonable because of aspirational schedules. But this conclusion needs lots of understanding of rocket business, and some explanation instead of just dropping a date.)

There is no way ABL launches overseas before it has success here in the USA. Minimum 3 launch attempts and 9-12 months in between each attempt, depending on how successful they are, pushes them into 2025 at the earliest.

RFA was founded in May 2018. They are 5.5 years into their R&D, and while they have some money it's still not enough. There is no way they are launching in 2024, maybe not even in 2025.

As for Saxavord Spaceport, they have a piece of paper that says they are a licensed spaceport, but don't have about 50 million pieces of green paper to allow them to build out the infrastructure.

You would have to guess late 2025, early 2026 for orbital.

Sub-orbital will depend on Hyimpulse and Skyrora. Hyimpulse is off to Australia and won't want to be distracted by Saxavord in 2024. No idea about Skyrora.

Nobody else is ready or motivated to go there; PLD will stick to Spain. They are about to win €43m from the Spanish Govt. OrbEx are well funded but focused on vertical integration.

It's hard to see how the Saxavord business plan makes any sense. Would you invest?
« Last Edit: 12/22/2023 02:39 pm by ringsider »

Offline PM3

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #39 on: 12/22/2023 08:38 pm »
It's hard to see how the Saxavord business plan makes any sense. Would you invest?

I would not have invested into OneWeb - but it did survive, because it was strategically too important to fail. Now let's see what will happen to the most promising spaceport project in the UK ...

Orbex doesn't have the money to build Sutherland spaceport and the rocket. They had management issues, are slow in progress and not strategically important. High risk of failure there, which would leave SaxaVord as the UK's only option for a domestic rocket launch site. (With the alternative of Astraius launching via Cornwall to make the UK a spacefaring nation.)

Generally, I often see you argumenting by current money reserves. Who currently has lots of money will prevail, who has little will fail. This is too one-dimensional IMHO. There are other deciding factors like management quality, cash burn rate, long-term prospect and - as mentioned above - strategic importance., which will decide about future money inflow.

Here in Germany, there are two rocket startups that look well-managed (RFA and HyImpulse) and one that does not (Isar). Exactly the first two chose SaxaVord for orbital launches. That's a relevant hint. I think the people at RFA and HyImpulse have a good insight into the spaceport projects; they are too smart for chosing a dead cat.
"Never, never be afraid of the truth." -- Jim Bridenstine

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #40 on: 12/22/2023 09:06 pm »
It's hard to see how the Saxavord business plan makes any sense. Would you invest?
I would not have invested into OneWeb - but it did survive, because it was strategically too important to fail. Now let's see what will happen to the most promising spaceport project in the UK ...
Your OneWeb investment would not have survived. They went bankrupt.

Offline trimeta

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #41 on: 12/22/2023 11:14 pm »
(With the alternative of Astraius launching via Cornwall to make the UK a spacefaring nation.)
Astraius is actually planning on launching from Prestwick Spaceport near Glasgow, not from Spaceport Cornwall. As European Spaceflight wrote in late 2022, "Spaceport Cornwall is more or less going to be exclusively used by Virgin Orbit with no other operator currently having committed to launching from the facility." Which didn't exactly work out for Spaceport Cornwall given Virgin Orbit's fate.

Online john57sharp

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #42 on: 01/03/2024 03:07 pm »

Online john57sharp

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Re: SaxaVord Spaceport
« Reply #43 on: 01/03/2024 03:09 pm »
(With the alternative of Astraius launching via Cornwall to make the UK a spacefaring nation.)
Astraius is actually planning on launching from Prestwick Spaceport near Glasgow, not from Spaceport Cornwall. As European Spaceflight wrote in late 2022, "Spaceport Cornwall is more or less going to be exclusively used by Virgin Orbit with no other operator currently having committed to launching from the facility." Which didn't exactly work out for Spaceport Cornwall given Virgin Orbit's fate.

There was a MOU with SierraSpace to land Dreamchaser at Cornwall, but I don’t know if is extant.

John

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