Accessing space is vital to any attempt to become a spacefaring civilization. There are many efforts in a number of countries to lower the cost of access to space and increase the frequency and efficiency of launches. These range from SpaceX Falcon rockets, to Rocket Lab's Electron, and, indeed, Reaction Engines' Skylon and its revolutionary SABRE (Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine). Governments from New Mexico to the UK to New Zealand are introducing new regulations and measures to encourage and support the development these launchers but also the spaceports from which they will operate.
While the engineering behind these machines is of course important, there are also a raft of legal and policy issues to be addressed. This work, which will be an ongoing endeavour of the Centre for a Spacefaring Civilization will look at the different legal and policy issues raised by spaceports, spaceplanes and commercial spaceflight. This will involve looking at the existing rules and regulations from around the world as well as imaging and envisioning new ways of moving forward to ensure sustainable, safe, and regular access to space. This is a core interest for the Centre for a Spacefaring Civilization as it is hardly possible to have a spacefaring civilization without being able to access outer space.
Spaceports, Spaceplanes, and Spaceflight
This project will be the initial foray into this work and will focus on the initiatives primarily in the United Kingdom and New Zealand to develop spaceports and spaceflight capabilities but will also look at the ongoing efforts in the United States, in order to assess whether there are any commonalities, best practices, or lessons learned to illustrate ways forward for those considering their own spaceport and spaceflight initiatives, as well as providing guidance for the industry and the existing government initiatives. It is our intention to present our initial findings at the UK Space Conference 2019.
We are always looking for support, financial or otherwise, if you would be interested in supporting our work on this project or the wider programme, please contact us.