Press Release

EU Spaceport Lelystad announced

By SpaceRef Editor
April 8, 2011
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EU Spaceport Lelystad announced

Public-private assessment working group to develop Spaceport Lelystad

AMSTERDAM REGION LELYSTAD, April 8, 2011 – Today at the ISTA Event commemorating the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight, a public-private partnership has announced the initiative to begin the process of bringing commercial spaceflight to The Netherlands and the Amsterdam Region. In order to create spaceflights the Spaceport Development Working Group (SDWG) will be investigating planning, environmental and safety issues, as well as economic benefits for the entire Lelystad region. The first results are due to be expected in six months time. Lelystad Airport is the proposed home base for the future EU Spaceport Lelystad in the Amsterdam Region.

During an era when global headlines of government cutbacks cast shadows upon the rest of our current affairs, the market demand for space activities overtakes what was traditionally a tax payer-based revenue model. A new kind of spaceport is under assessment in Western Europe. The first of its kind in a crowded, European airspace, Lelystad Airport in The Netherlands has a good probability of becoming the first spaceport in Europe to realistically provide scheduled spaceflights due to its proximity to a scientifically rich space community in the Netherlands and Germany. In addition to the foregoing, tourist spaceflights will certainly be another top priority for the EU Spaceport. Europeans tend to spend more time and money on vacations than any other region in the world.

The Spaceport Development Working Group (SDWG) is currently being composed of public and private entities that may benefit from the existence of a spaceport in Lelystad. Among such bodies will include the Municipality of Lelystad, the Lelystad Airport, the Schiphol Group, OMALA Development Group, the European Space Agency, the US engineering firm Reynolds Smith & Hill (specialists in spaceport engineering and environmental analysis), and SpaceLinq NV as the first proposed spaceflight operator from EU Spaceport Lelystad, the International Space Transport Association (ISTA). The SDWG is seeking cooperation with the Dutch government, and the nearby space tech laboratories as well as proximal technical Universities, like TU Delft, the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, and the Leiden University International Institute of Air & Space Law.

SpaceLinq, the spaceflight operator who chose Lelystad as its home base, plans to jointly operate a carbon neutral facility with both the spaceport and spaceliner drawing green energy from local wind turbine farms. RS&H, an American engineering firm, is negotiating the possibility to perform a technical and environmental study of the airport and surrounding areas. Alongside this, ISTA is

surveying the economic and political impact of this spaceport concept.

“The development of the space industry for commercial and scientific purposes is booming”, says the Mayor of Lelystad, Mrs. Margreet Horselenberg. “It is a vast capitally based industry. For the city of Lelystad it offers a great opportunity to participate in the realization of space related activities. Together with the financial support of private investors the city of Lelystad can facilitate the plans to make Lelystad Airport a front runner in a global network of spaceports. Lelystad is proud that it could become the host community for this new enterprise, and we look forward to seeing the results of the Spaceport Development Working Group.”

According to Erik Lagerweij, Managing Director of Lelystad Airport for The Schiphol Group “Lelystad Airport is the ideal place for this new category of aerospace flight operations. Here, there is room for business to expand, and flight corridors can be routed out over the North Sea so that there are no noise or environmental issues associated with the operation of suborbital spaceplanes. Ultimately, this new class of aerospace vehicles can grow in capability to be able to link anywhere in the world in a few hours. The Amsterdam Region can become the future EU hub for commercial spaceflight of all kinds.”

“Today we embark on the start of long journey”, says Ronald Heister, director-general of ISTA. “Just as our Dutch ancestors did four centuries ago, when they built new ships and sailed over the horizon to establish commercial links and trade routes to the East and West Indies. We know, this new journey will take years to complete, and the outcome is not certain. However, the prospects for new commerce, high technology job creation, and the development of a whole new class of space industries and space tourism in the heart of Europe, are compelling.”

“It’s a blank slate”, says Chuck Lauder, general manager of new spaceliner SpaceLinq. “A real frontier for entrepreneurs, because a standard business model does not yet exist. On the legal side, national and international laws which govern commercial space activities are only now beginning to take shape. It’s the culmination of state-of-the-art technology, forward-thinking policy and cutting-edge business. You can’t innovate without risk. These are pioneers – people and organisations who are ready to test their limits.”

Within six months, the SDWG expects to be able to report on the results of the preliminary planning, environmental and safety analysis as well as the economic benefits of the proposed commercial spaceflight operations. Also, the SDWG intends to hold several workshops and public forums for all interested parties at that time.

About commercial space flight

Yet in 1865 Jules Verne described a fantastic space journey of three persons in his novel “From the Earth to the Moon”. In those days not a space flight, but an air flight was something unconceivable for most people. Turning the 20th century, Verne’s visionary ideas inspired humankind to send its first representative into outer space. The innovation appearing with the development of air & space navigation has shaped the World, as we know it today. Commercial space navigation will be plenty supported by innovations which will impact positive living of people all over the World. Nowadays we are witnessing the start of new transportation means, and through the 21st century space commercial flight will become as usual as it is air flight today.

The 20th century gave birth to the space age and our century will become the period of maturation of commercial space navigation. The space industry is growing rapidly also thanks to the vision of talented businessmen. At this moment, commercial spaceports, training centers and space vehicles are being developed and built in many points of the World, what is leading to a continuous increase of the number of stakeholders in the commercial space industry.

About the International Space Transport Association (ISTA)

The need to develop, market and promote commercial spaceflight, science innovations and payload is evident. It should not be restricted to increasing awareness for future space consumers, but it should also be targeted in getting the attention of private investors and agencies whose business require a solid growth of a sustainable world and space industry. A whole new sector is emerging and evolving around spaceflight, space training, space cargo, space hotels and many other activities: The space economy.

The increasing economic value of the activities of the space economy is turning it into a consumer driven industry. This process demands the efficient functioning of an independent organisation, acknowledged by the stakeholders, which may control, support the reputation and maximize the economic value of the space industry, accomplishing this in a sustainable way. The International Space Transport Association (ISTA) is meant to fulfill these tasks with a key focus on consumer related space activities worldwide. The conviction on the enormous potential of the commercial space industry explains the ISTA commitment to secure its successful development from infancy to maturity.

SpaceRef staff editor.