If you’re a city, town, coastline, bit of tundra, or even a desert and you don’t have your own spaceport, you’re behind the times. New rocket launch sites have been sprouting like Texas bluebonnets after a spring rain. And several more are scheduled to open later this year.
They’ll be launching some brand-new rockets, by new companies, built with new technology. That’s because the market for space missions is really taking off. The space industry will launch thousands of craft this year. Most of them are communications satellites. Others are tiny payloads that will conduct science and technology experiments. And a few will head for the Moon or carry astronauts to orbit.
Among the spaceports that have opened in the past year, or that are expected to open this year, are sites in Texas, Nova Scotia, Scotland, Cornwall, Shetland Island, and the Canary Islands.
They’ll launch some brand-new rockets. Many of them are made possible by new materials, 3D printing, and A.I. The list of first-time rockets includes Vulcan, Terran, and Prime. Some will carry thousands of pounds of payloads, while others will carry single satellites that weigh only a few hundred pounds.
The payloads also include craft that have carried people to space — or will in the next few years — from spaceports around the world.
Some of those sites will launch future space telescopes, and we’ll talk about planning for some of those tomorrow.
Script by Damond Benningfield