Cornwall Council approves investment in spaceport at Newquay airport
Cornwall Council and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have been developing a potential project for a spaceport based at Newquay Airport. The proposal would be for satellites to be launched in what is known as horizontal launch mode where a rocket is secured under the wing of an aircraft; the aircraft takes off from the normal runway; then at high altitude a few hundred miles off the coast, the rocket is released and it propels the satellites into orbit. This is in contrast to the normal vertical launch method where the rocket takes off from the ground at a specially constructed facility such as Kennedy Spaceport in Florida or from the Russian base in Kazakhstan. Cornwall has signed an understanding with Richard Branson to bring horizontal launch to Newquay Airport.
In September, Cabinet approved by 6 votes to 4 the proposal to invest up to £12 million into the project.
In November, Full Council supported this proposal by 66 votes to 34 against. I voted against the proposal.
It is likely, therefore, that the project will proceed in early 2020. It should be noted, however, that Virgin have not yet successfuly launched a satellite into orbit.