Issue #4(22) 2019 Opinion

Climate change and spaceports – a difficult balance

The runway at Cornwall Spaceport.
The runway at Cornwall Spaceport.
Mark Godsell MDG Promotions, Cornwall, UK

Spaceports are becoming part of the NewSpace industry around the world, but some people worried about climate change have suggested they could damage the atmosphere and detrimentally affect the climate. In the UK, this has become a ‘local issue’ in some of the communities proposing spaceports, such as the one in Cornwall. Here, Mark Godsell wrestles with opposing views and strives to find a balance.

I have supported the idea of a UK horizontal launch spaceport since it was first proposed in 2014. Others do not. One of their questions is: “if I accept climate change needs action now, how can I support UK spaceports, in particular the horizontal launch variety requiring large vehicles and accompanying support flights?”. The simple answer is that I believe the positives outweigh the negatives.

I left engineering because of the limited options in the county of Cornwall whilst other contemporaries of mine reluctantly left the county, even the country, to pursue their engineering careers. For me, giving Cornwall the opportunity to develop a high-tech industry and reducing its dependency on seasonal tourism is an opportunity to embrace. While I cannot be absolutely sure the spaceport can deliver the benefits it promises, I can be sure that there is no chance if we do not try.

If you already have a login and password to access - Please log in to be able to read all the articles of the site.

Popular articles

See also


Ready for Mars? From Mars-500 to zero-gravity medical issues


Opportunity knocks for UK space industry


Terraforming Mars: from CFCs to Total Recall

Popular articles

ESA s Expose-R2 experiment was retrieved by cosmonauts from the outside of the Zveda module on the International Space Station during a spacewalk in February 2016. Science

How microorganisms survive space travel

Kongsberg NanoAvionics Specials

A multifaceted approach to space sustainability