The only European space airport is currently in Kourou, French Guiana, near the equator. But he shouldn’t be the only one. Great Britain, Norway, Sweden and Portugal plan to build European space stations for small and medium-sized launch vehicles. With a new type of mobile launch pad technology on the North Sea, a German consortium wants to offer space launches from German territory in just under two years.
The planned and probably only feasible German launch site for orbital missiles is on the extreme edge of the exclusive economic zone of the Federal Republic – far to the northwest in the North Sea, about 400 kilometers from Bremerhaven. The special thing about it: the rocket launches should take place directly from the ship. They want to use the existing infrastructure in the area of the industrial port and already existing special ships in order to carry out starts quickly and inexpensively.
“We’re shifting the rocket’s path to the launch pad,” says Dr.-Ing. Andreas Stamminger from OHB System AG, a systems house for space travel and satellite transport and partner of the German Offshore Spaceport Alliance (GOSA) consortium. The envisaged scenario envisages that the rocket builders install their micro launcher (up to around 150 kg payload) or their mini launcher (up to 500 or even 1000 kg payload) in a launch box that has yet to be constructed. Already on land they connect the rocket horizontally with the later launch pad, prepare the supply lines and integrate the payload, usually satellites.
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