Spaceport preparing impact report

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Head of Spaceport Cornwall, Melissa Thorpe

Spaceport Cornwall is preparing to release its Sustainability Impact Report and Action Plan, as it gears up for a first satellite launch this summer.

Small satellites are set to play a crucial role in the fight against climate change, with increased Earth observation leading to deeper ‘environmental intelligence’ – providing us with the data needed to inform policy both locally and globally.

But while the benefits of small satellite launches are increasingly evident, there are also detrimental impacts that cannot be ignored. Spaceport Cornwall says the report has been created to share those impacts – both offering and seeking opportunities to reduce them through open collaboration.

The report focuses on five key areas where launch from Cornwall could have a negative effect. It details the current expected impact, the target to be achieved in order to mitigate this impact, and how this will be reached. The five areas of impact are: carbon emissions, biodiversity, marine environment, on-site facilities and space debris.

Before the report is released to the public, Spaceport Cornwall has launched a Sustainability Steering Group of environmental experts and stakeholders from across Cornwall. They will now work with spokespeople from each sector related to their areas of focus, asking them to review and consult on the findings and progress the action plan to its next stages.

Head of Spaceport Cornwall, Melissa Thorpe, said: “We believe transparency and openness need to be a priority in our industry, because the impacts and outcomes affect us all. That’s why we are calling for a steering group to help us further this report – we’re committing to do things differently – to show the world that space launch can be transparent and to change things for the better.

“Our aim is to report on our commitments and impacts every year in a way that is accessible and meaningful for everyone. This is just the beginning and we are looking forward to leading the way.”