The application to build a spaceport on one of the Shetland Islands has been rejected by a local monument authority because it would cause “extensive and adverse impact on the cultural significance” of a WWII radar station.
Mr Strang [head of the spaceport organization] said he was “greatly surprised” by the decision, claiming HES [Historic Environment Scotland] had “done nothing to preserve the site for the last 50 years”.
Skaw is the UK’s most northerly Second World War radar station and protected as a scheduled monument of national importance. The proposed space centre would be built almost entirely with in the RAF radar station site. It would require the removal of nine buildings, including air raid shelters, guard huts and those associated with the radar system. More than 200 archaeological features, such as foundations of buildings, gun emplacements and bomb craters would also be removed.
The Shetland Islands are very remote with few job opportunities for its residences. Putting a spaceport there seems like an excellent idea, especially because it will create hundreds of jobs where none exist now.
The radar facility did the same, but it did so more than seventy years ago, during World War II. Protecting these old and unused buildings for the sake of those long gone jobs seems utterly foolish.
The spaceport people say they will oppose this decision, but it is not clear from the article what they can do. The law as written appears to give this historical agency full power to veto.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
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