Cornwall Spaceport Working on a Sustainability Report for UK Launch

18th Feb 2022
Cornwall Spaceport Working on a Sustainability Report for UK Launch

In an attempt to become the first spaceport with a deep concern for the environmental effect of rocket launch activities, Cornwall Spaceport announced the publishing of a report on sustainability as well as an action plan. It’s the first such initiative that focuses on five key aspects that could have a negative environmental impact. The report details the expected impact, sets a target to be achieved for mitigating the impact, and ways to reach that target. The five areas included in the sustainability report are:

  • Carbon emissions
  • Biodiversity
  • Space debris
  • Marine environment
  • On-site facilities

Cornwall Spaceport – the World’s Ethical and Responsible Space Gateway

Global warming and the environmental changes brought by human activity can no longer be denied. So, the spaceport in Cornwall is the first such site to consider the impact of various rocket launch activities. This approach is crucial since, so far, the space companies have only focused on successful launches, disregarding the potential harmful effects.

Together with Virgin Orbit, Spaceport Cornwall’s launch partners, vital steps are being made towards reducing emissions and reaching carbon neutrality by 2030. Horizontal launch technology significantly contributes to reducing carbon emissions compared to vertical launch. Furthermore, the purchase of UK Domestic Woodland Carbon Units by Virgin Orbit is another step taken by the company to offset launch emissions.

Melissa Thorpe, Head of Cornwall Spaceport, declared that openness and transparency need to be prioritised in the space industry. Since the outcomes and impacts will have an effect on the entire world, the spaceport calls for a steering group that will help continue the report and sustain transparency. Besides reporting the impacts and commitments early and changing things for the better, the aim is also to have the information accessible for everyone.

The first steps taken by Cornwall Spaceport and Virgin Orbit towards reducing carbon emissions set an example for all private and national space programs and this is just the beginning of a mission to align the space industry with the plans and regulations to protect the environment. Surely, the response from other rocket launch sites will come soon enough.

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