52

The area of the European Continent is too far away from the equator and there are very few places allowing an eastward orbital launch over an ocean. Used first stages should not crash on densely populated ground. But French Guiana, where the Guiana Space Centre is located, is one of five French overseas departments and a part of the European Union. Overseas ...


24

There are a few advantages to launching a spacecraft from a high latitude, depending on what you want exactly. The primary advantage to such a system is for very high inclined orbits. Most low earth satellites benefit from a high inclination, and in fact, many are placed in to what is known as a "Sun Synchronous Orbit" with a slight retrograde inclination. ...


19

Building just another (domestic) launch side is not exactly easy or cheap. There is a lot of logistics to take care of. For your question, you need to understand the history of Russian space flight and Plesetsk. It was build for launching ICBMs over the north pole into north America. Keep in mind that Soyuz rockets were derived from the R-7 rocket, which ...


18

Let's go back our old friend the Pork chop plotter. Earth to Jupiter using minimum fuel takes around 2 years and you get one opportunity per year, more or less, to get there. You can shorten the journey to perhaps 20 months with minimal extra fuel. The delta-V required at Earth (over and above escape velocity) is about 9.3 km/s (you can in theory aerobrake ...


15

Yes, there are methods to track and estimate what a payload is up to. Most methods rely on visual or radar to identify the orbit and its parameters. There are many amateurs that do this. Once an object has been located and its orbit calculated, you can then monitor changes in the orbit. Generally these things are public. Imaging the object is generally the ...


15

There are currently suborbital spaceports. Esrange in Sweden launches sounding rockets, including some up to 678 km. That's nearly 300 km higher than the International Space Station, so it is definitely possible to launch a payload into space from within the European part of the European Union. Esrange cannot yet launch into orbit, buth they plan to. ...


11

I whomped up a spreadsheet to compare scenarios like this: Hohmann.xls. Typing Earth into departure planet cell and Mars into destination planet I get Launch windows open each 2.14 years (synodic period) Trip time .71 years Delta V Low Earth Orbit to Low Mars Orbit: 5.7 km/s Typing Mars into departure planet and Jupiter into destination: Launch window: ...


11

The Flame Trench is the big hole used to manage the flame from the rocket initially. Here's a shot of the Space Shuttle's Flame Trench: A closer look at the flame trench at LC-39A from the Space KSC blog: Note that essentially it deflects the flame so that it won't damage the rocket. All flame trenches have similar objectives. My favorite example comes ...


8

I've studied this out, and found a few additional close calls. But there hasn't been any launches out of Europe itself, except for Russia. This is probably because Europe is too population dense to make a launch safe. Some information taken from Gunter's space page. France has launched from Centre interarmées d’essais d’engins spéciaux (CIEES), Hammaguir, ...


7

Molniya orbits As written by Aurovrata Plesetsk is actually ideally situated to launch satellites into Molniya orbits, and as a result saw many more launches than Baikonour. A or better THE molniya orbit has an inclination of 63.4°. The lauchpades are located about 62.9° N. So launching nearly straight east (which gives you the maximum input from ...


6

There are two embodied steps in the question a) "pre-eminent" which raises the question "for what purpose" and b) that "north" does not follow the pattern adopted by other participants. Expanding a little: a) That the crewed Shenzhou missions depart from Jiuquan might make it "pre-eminent" in some points of view. Please say if this isn't what you meant. ...


6

During the time of USSR, Bulgaria participated in a space program Soyuz 33. Then the Bulgarian cosmonaut Georgi Ivanov together with his Russian colleague Nikolai Rukavishnikov were launched into space in 1979. The scientific program for the flight was prepared entirely by Bulgarian scientists, along with some of the equipment as said per Wikipedia. ...


6

A lot of information could be gleaned simply from determining the orbit and characterizing the type of electromagnetic radiation it emits. Getting a decent picture of the satellite would also help considerably. For example, a GEO satellite is almost assuredly going to be used for communication or very wide field-of-view remote sensing (e.g. weather, missile ...


5

Aha! But there is at least one spaceport in the European Union. Namely Guiana Space Centre located in French Guiana – French overseas territory and hence part of the EU.


5

Any time a craft launches from a launch site at any azimuth other than due east there is a performance penalty. But the constraints you mention are largely due to safety or political constraints. Here are the limits for the major continental US launch sites. (These writeups from here are shuttle-centric but the information is still largely relevant) ...


5

For reference, the same rockets, but different launch sites, gives the following, at Earth escape velocity Baikonur- 1600 kg French Guiana- 2200 kg You asked about Mars specifically, so let's look at a delta v table. That requires 600 m/s beyond escape velocity. According to the table, that's a small difference for either location. Thus, you can see that ...


5

The first expense is of course rent and taxes for the land the spaceport is on, after that there are a number of infrastructure maintenance expenses involved. A basic spaceport is going to have a lot to maintain. For example the Kodiak complex has a clean room for final satellite preparations, a vehicle assembly building, as well as a mission control ...


4

The ideal launch site The previous answers point out that there are many factors that go into choosing a suitable launch site. However, assuming a strategic requirement for long term space access, the predominant factors are good clearance devoid of populated areas east of the launch site and as close to the equator as possible. Why launch eastward The ...


3

One big factor is Earth's gravity. To reach space from Earth, any spacecraft needs to be huge. It requires a huge crawler and good crawlerway. It requires a solid, big launchpad to support the weight of the craft and infrastructure to keep it upright, fueling it with hundreds or thousands of tons of fuel, keeping it powered, and safe against the ...


3

You need a flat surface, that is it. The Apollo lunar landers landed at the Moon, without any present infrastructure. The descent stage then served as a space port pocket edition. As a zero-infrastructure solution is possible, improving on that is trivial. Any action that makes the landing zone flatter or larger, and removes disturbing rocks and cliffs is ...


2

Using @HopDavid's excellent spreadsheet, we get a delta-V of about 6.9 km/s for a 3 year mission from highly elliptical Mars orbit to Callisto, the only one of the large moons where the radiation level is survivable for humans. To that we need to add about 2.4 km/s for landing on Callisto (which has no atmosphere) So, assuming Elon Musk's dreams come true ...


2

While I don't agree that we should have a Mars base before a Moon base, there's several compelling arguments you can make. I'm going to use Zubrin's answer on "why Mars?" In which he explains that "Mars is where the science is, Mars is where the challenge is, and Mars is where the future is". Scientifically, we know more about the Moon than we do about Mars....


2

Technically not part of the EU, per se, but part of the EEC, Norway has launched a lot of rockets. Andøya Space Centre (formerly Andøya Rocket Range) has launched 1 200 rockets since 1962. Mainly sounding rockets (scientific rockets with instruments measuring stuff in sub-orbital flight) have been launched, but on September 27 2018 they launched ...


2

The spaceport SpaceX is building in Texas consists of at least the following: launch pad capable of supporting the Falcon Heavy, FH weight is in the region of 1500 tons. a building for horizontal assembly of the FH, i.e. 75+ m long, and capable of supporting 30-ton capacity gantry cranes that have to be in precise positions to assemble the rocket. Both ...


2

According to Anatloy Zak's website, with the cancellation of Rus-M it will be the Angara family, with first to fly in March 2014, which is of course, to be taken with a grain of salt. This is after all, rocket science. From: Angara at Vostochny On Oct. 23, 2013, Roskosmos announced a tender for the development of the launch complex 371SK32 for the ...


1

Although not orbital, which was the explicit question asked, a rocket has been launched from the UK to beyond the atmosphere in October 2015. It is reported by the BBC today. The BBC article also writes about the sites for planned spaceports, including an article about a proposed vertical rocket launch site in Sutherland. A lot of these proposals are ...


1

Perhaps. There seems to be persistent interest, see NSTP2, which is an invitation from the UK Space Agency for "proposals for industrial research projects that will contribute to the introduction of sub-orbital flight and satellite launch operations in the UK". Proposals have to address: determine how sub-orbital or small satellite launch vehicles ...


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