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The US limitations on export of Rocket Technology

Currently the leading (but not all) exponents of this technology operate on US soil using largely US Technology.

Despite the United Kingdom-focused timeline, Xcor and Virgin employ U.S. rocket technology. The use of that technology outside of the United States is regulated under export controls. Called International Traffic in Arms Regulations or ITAR, it is the first obstacle to operating rocket-powered space planes outside of the United States. The U.K. Ministry of Defence has made progress on understanding this issue, said U.K. Space Agency Director for Growth, Applications and European Union Programs Catherine Mealing-Jones, speaking at the Space Day Conference.

The Outer Space Treaty

Another regulatory issue is the legal process to allow the space planes to fly in U.K. airspace up to space. Under the Outer Space Treaty that the United Kingdom signed, governments are responsible for launches by their citizens. The U.K. Space Agency is the regulatory authority for the U.K. Outer Space Act 1986, and discharges the country's obligations under the four outer-space-related treaties. However, Parker told Space.com that because suborbital space planes do not go into orbit, the treaty does not apply. Instead, Parker's agency plans to treat space planes as experimental aircraft under U.K. and European aviation law. Passengers would have to agree to something like the informed consent concept that the FAA is using.

However, the report also states that the United Kingdom should not adopt the FAA approach and instead should remain in step with "future [European Union] developments." The European Union (EU) could have space plane legislation within the next five years. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is an EU agency, and the United Kingdom is a member state of EASA. The EASA official drawing up the space plane legislation, Jean-Bruno Marciacq, told Space.com at the Space Day Conference that the legislative proposals are ready to go the European Commission's (EC) Department of Mobility and Transport.

The delay has been due to the EU's European Parliament elections, held every five years.


Both the regulations on clean air and noise pollution are heavily embedded in recent European regulation. However, as the flights will be initially very infrequent the individual effects will be low and the combined effects would take a very frequent service to cause problems.


In principle the Newquay Aerohub aspect of Newquay Airport circumnavigates many planning issues. However, the runway will need extending beyond the current length and arguably beyond its current planning area. In the end it is likely this will become a micro regional dispute between St Mawgan district, the Larger Newquay District and Cornwall County as a whole. Inevitably the impact will effect the daily lives of a few but benefit the many.

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