Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Spaceport should come to Prestwick

Prestwick airport has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, with Ryanair cutting services, the airport losing money and having to be bought by the government to keep it running. Even the state of the adjacent railway station has declined as maintenance has been cut back. But hope could be on the horizon. Prestwick has been shortlisted for the role of the UK's first spaceport. The candidates for this honour are Campbeltown, Kinloss, Llanbedr, Leuchars, Lossiemouth, Newquay, Prestwick and Stornoway. Of these, Prestwick has the best transport links, access to a large local engineering base and universities and a central location, making it ideal for startup space ventures such as Reaction Engines. The time is perfect for Prestwick to usher in a new era for Ayrshire and the UK. 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The future of the UK's Antarctic science fleet.

This year, the government announced a new Antarctic research vessel to replace the RRS James Clark Ross. The new ship will be bigger than the vessel it replaces, enabling a continuing British presence in the Antarctic for many years to come.
As well as the British Antarctic Survey's ships, the Royal Navy has an ice patrol vessel, HMS Protector, which replaced the damaged HMS Endurance (see photo). Protector is viewed as only a temporary replacement, and does not have any permanent hangar facilities for a helicopter, but I wonder if a sister to the BAS's new ship could be built alongside it for the Royal Navy? Ideally in a British shipyard.