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Cafe Scientifique

Café Scientifique is a forum for debating science issues and promoting public engagement with science. Audiences consist of people who are interested in science but generally never have the opportunity to discuss their views with, and ask questions of, someone "in the know".

Meetings generally start with a short talk from the speaker, who is usually a scientist or a writer on science, followed by a short break for drinks. This is followed by a session of about an hour for questions and answers and general discussion. Cafés are free although a voluntary contribution may be asked for to cover any expenses. (It does not pay fees to a speaker).

Meetings take place once a month on the second Wednesday of each month, starting at 7.30pm.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, 9th July, 2014, 7.30pm

Place: The Old Bookroom, Hope Street Hotel

Title: Spaceport Liverpool Background to the UK proposal to create a UK space hub allowing Liverpool to LA or Beijing in 2 hours?

Guest Speaker: Alan Cross

Whilst he is best known as a Jazz vocalist, Alan Cross is an incorrigible space cadet and has been an active member of both the ‘British Interplanetary Society’ the USA’s ‘Planetary Society’ for most of his adult life, attending and occasionally participating in numerous events run by both organisations. Last year, he entered the ‘Lynx Space Academy’, a competition held by Unilever to send a member of the public on a suborbital flight into space. Out of 87,000 applicants Alan passed several selection stages over a number of months, ultimately finishing 66th.

Only a few weeks ago, our government stated its intentions to establish a spaceport within the United Kingdom. Typically, the proposed sites are remote, decommissioned RAF stations. Whilst the benefits of such a location are obvious, they fail to take into account the rapidly changing nature of the global commercial space sector and run the risk of being eclipsed by more forward looking projects in the coming decades.

Right now flight testing of SpaceShipTwo is nearing competition and Virgin Galactic, along with its sister companies are already designing SpaceShipThree, a point-to-point suborbital craft, capable of taking passengers from Sydney to the UK in a just a few hours. It’s all well and good leaping around the planet in record time, but what would the point be when you then land on a remote runway that’s several hours travel from where you need to be? An urban spaceport at Liverpool John Lennon is the solution. But how could it be done? How could the runway be expanded? What about safety issues? Environmental concerns? What are the benefits of such a facility, both to Liverpool and the rest of the UK?

Whilst there are issues to address, the idea for expanding John Lennon Airport to include a Spaceport has the support of the British Interplanetary Society’s Technical Committee and has already received positive attention from a number of companies involved in the commercial space sector.

Imagine; Beijing or LA to Liverpool in two hours.

Imagine; Liverpool becoming a vital gateway to Europe, to the entire planet and to worlds beyond.


Click here to go to the Cafe Scientifique website.

Please contact Michael Jackman,, if intending to attend as places may be limited.


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hope street hotel

Built around 1860 in the style of a Venetian palazzo and renovated in 2003 into 89 simple, natural, contemporary and comfortable hotel rooms and a restaurant. Privately owned and independently run with an emphasis on friendliness, good food and thoughtful service.

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