Spaceport Cornwall Tracking Solution – Goonhilly Earth Station8th Mar 2021
In 2018, the UK supported the projects of the first spaceports on its territory. Cornwall in South West England was chosen as one of the locations. The platform, which will be based on the existing Newquay airport, will carry out horizontal launches of a modified Boeing designed by Virgin Orbit. Tracking solutions will be provided by the world’s largest satellite earth station, Goonhilly. Let’s see how it can be beneficial for the upcoming mission.
What is Goonhilly Earth Station?
Since 1962, the Goonhilly satellite Earth Station has been broadcasting TV programs about landings on the Moon, satellite launches, and other space sector achievements. Today, Goonhilly has tremendous experience in commercial space communication and successfully uses it in such areas as:
- deep space
- computer calculations
- training and education
The station has contracts with leading satellite operators, provides data transmission services and the best operational solutions, professional engineering consultations. Goonhilly’s clients’ list includes major broadcasters, aerospace companies, and commercial firms looking to have a thriving business.
The Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall is located close to the future spaceport. Still, it is also growing steadily through investments, so it is not surprising that it was chosen to observe flights from Spaceport Cornwall. The station is equipped with reliable energy sources, has an excellent technical base, modern data processing centres, high-performance computing, and excellent staff. Goonhilly has everything to organise the observation, control, and management of space flights at the highest level.
Cornwall Spaceport – new opportunities for the UK
The British government predicts a significant profit from the operation of the Spaceport Cornwall since horizontal rocket launches have many advantages over conventional vertical ones:
- Lower costs – the aircraft acts as the first stage, delivering the rocket to an altitude of 30 thousand feet, from where it launches into the calculated orbit
- Reusable – you can operate the same aircraft for several years
- Minimum harm to the environment – the rocket engine ignites far from the ground, so it does not harm the population and nature
- Less initial noise – The flight at supersonic speed takes place far from residential buildings; the noise does not disturb the locals.
- The Spaceport Cornwall is also expected to be used for suborbital passenger transport by 2030. This will significantly increase the popularity of the region, bringing profit from both commercial launches and tourism.
Rocket launches, flight control, site, and infrastructure maintenance will inevitably require expansion of Goonhilly Earth Station, Newquay Airport, and related infrastructure facilities, which will create additional jobs for the population and attract investment within the region.