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World’s first spaceport announced

Date: Feb 19, 2006
Level: Easier (Try the harder lesson.)
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Audio: (1:37 - 191.2 KB - 16kbps)

 
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THE ARTICLE

The age of space tourism came a step closer yesterday with the announcement of plans to build the world’s first spaceport. The company Space Adventures Ltd. announced in a press release its plans to develop a commercial spaceport in the United Arab Emirates. This will be the first of many locations. Other possible sites for spaceports include Singapore and various secret locations in North America. The initial point of departure for a holiday in the heavens looks like being the city of Ras-Al-Khaimah, an hour by car from Dubai. The Sheikh there has put his full financial and political backing behind the ambitious project.

The press report states that the “total estimated cost of the global spaceport development project is at least US$265 million”. Space Adventures Ltd. and a team of UAE financiers will provide the funds. The UAE’s civil aviation authorities have already given their green light  for spaceflights to operate in their airspace. Crown Prince Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi of Ras Al-Khaimah expressed pride in his city hosting “the site where suborbital commercial space travel will begin and flourish”. He added: “We are most excited about spearheading this multi-billion dollar industry.”

WARM-UPS

1. ON THE DOORSTEP: In pairs / groups, talk about what life would be like to have the world’s first spaceport on your doorstep. Would you welcome it? Write down five things you would or would not welcome. Share these things with your partner(s). Change partners often.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

Space tourism / steps / plans / adventures / the UAE / Singapore / the heavens / Dubai / funds / civil aviation / green lights / pride / multi-billion dollar industries

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

3. AT THE SPACEPORT: You are at the spaceport, waiting for your ten-day holiday in space. Talk to the passenger next to you about your trip. What do you want to do? Do you have to buy many souvenirs? What do you want to take photos of? Ask each other the normal holiday-in-space questions.

4. SPACE HEADLINES: Talk about these “headlines” of the future. Do you think any of them could come true? Tell each other the stories behind the headlines.

  • The U.K. moves into space
  • First space war starts
  • Space overcrowding a problem
  • The last human leaves Earth
  • World’s first MarsPort announced
  • Tourists lost in space
  • UAE capital relocates to the moon
  • Budget-space-rocket disaster

5. TWO-MINUTE DEBATES: Face your partner and have these fun debates. Students A strongly believe in the first argument; Students B, the second. Change partners often.

  1. The UAE is a poor choice for the spaceport. Vs. The UAE is a great choice.
  2. Space travel is still too dangerous. Vs. Crossing the road is dangerous.
  3. Money should be spent on medicines. Vs. Space travel will benefit medicine.
  4. Space travel means more pollution. Vs. We can put our waste in space bins.
  5. People were not meant to go into space. Vs. Humans are great travelers.
  6. One day we’ll all have to live in space. Vs. The earth will always support us.
  7. Space travel will be a major industry. Vs. It will be a small market only.
  8. All humans should go into space once. Vs. No humans should ever leave Earth.

6. TOURISM: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word “tourism”. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

Dubai will be the world’s first port to accept goods from space.

T / F

b.

A city in the UAE has been chosen as the world’s first spaceport.

T / F

c.

Anyone can go to heaven if they book a space tour.

T / F

d.

A Middle-Eastern sheikh has financially backed the ambitious project.

T / F

e.

The cost of the project is estimated to be US$265 million.

T / F

f.

UAE authorities have given the green light for flights in their airspace.

T / F

g.

A UAE sheikh has expressed pride in his city hosting suborbital travel.

T / F

h.

The project will be a multi-trillion dollar one for the UAE.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

age

several

b.

announcement

delight

c.

commercial

venture

d.

various

support

e.

backing

go-ahead

f.

project

statement

g.

financiers

pioneering

h.

green light

era

i.

pride

investors

j.

spearheading

private enterprise

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

The age of space tourism

of many locations

b.

the announcement of plans to

this multi-billion dollar industry

c.

the first

backing behind the ambitious project

d.

The initial point of departure for

will provide the funds

e.

put his full financial and political

already given their green light

f.

the total

came a step closer yesterday

g.

a team of UAE financiers

and flourish

h.

civil aviation authorities have

estimated cost

i.

commercial space travel will begin

build the world’s first spaceport

j.

excited about spearheading

a holiday in the heavens

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the gaps in the text.

World’s first spaceport announced

The _________ of space tourism came a step closer yesterday with the announcement of _________ to build the world’s first spaceport. The company Space Adventures Ltd. announced in a press release its plans to _________ a commercial spaceport in the United Arab Emirates. This will be the _________ of many locations. Other possible sites for spaceports include Singapore and _________ secret locations in North America. The initial _________ of departure for a holiday in the _________ looks like being the city of Ras-Al-Khaimah, an hour by car from Dubai. The Sheikh there has put his full financial and political _________ behind the ambitious project.

 

 

various
plans
heavens
age
first
backing
point
develop

The press report states that the “total _________ cost of the global spaceport development project is at _________ US$265 million”. Space Adventures Ltd. and a team of UAE _________ will provide the funds. The UAE’s civil aviation authorities have already given their green _________ for spaceflights to operate in their _________. Crown Prince Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi of Ras Al-Khaimah _________ pride in his city hosting “the site where suborbital commercial space travel will begin and _________”. He added: “We are most excited about spearheading this _________-billion dollar industry.”

 

flourish
financiers
airspace
light
estimated
multi
expressed
least

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

World’s first spaceport announced

The _____ of space tourism came a step closer yesterday with the _______________ of plans to build the world’s first spaceport. The company Space Adventures Ltd. announced in a press release its plans to develop a ____________ spaceport in the United Arab Emirates. This will be the first of many locations. Other possible sites for spaceports include Singapore and __________ secret locations in North America. The initial point of __________ for a holiday in the heavens looks like being the city of Ras-Al-Khaimah, an hour by car from Dubai. The Sheikh there has put his _____ financial and political __________ behind the ambitious project.

The press report states that the “total __________ cost of the global spaceport development project is at least US$265 million”. Space Adventures Ltd. and a team of UAE __________ will provide the _______. The UAE’s civil aviation authorities have already given their green light  for spaceflights to operate in their ___________. Crown Prince Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi of Ras Al-Khaimah expressed pride in his city hosting “the site where suborbital commercial space travel will begin and _________”. He added: “We are most excited about spearheading this multi-billion dollar industry.”


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘green’ and ‘light’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT “SPACEPORT” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about spaceports and space tourism.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • age
  • plans
  • various
  • heavens
  • car
  • behind
  • estimated
  • team
  • green light
  • pride
  • flourish
  • excited

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  2. Do you think spaceports will be a large part of people’s lives in the future?
  3. What environmental problems do you think will come with spaceports?
  4. Would you like to go up in space?
  5. Do you think the average person will be able to afford space travel?
  6. What do you think of the choice of the UAE as the location for the first spaceport?
  7. How different do you think a spaceport will be from an airport?
  8. What kind of training do you think people will need to go into space?
  9. Do you think space tourism will be a big industry?
  10. Would you like to live near a spaceport?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. What do you think people can do on a trip into space?
  4. What do you think would be the best and worst things about space travel?
  5. What kind of present would you want from somebody who went up into the heavens?
  6. Would you like to work as a flight attendant on space flights?
  7. Do you think space travel would change you?
  8. When do you think there will be resorts on the moon?
  9. Do you think science fiction always comes true?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  2. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  3. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  4. What did you like talking about?
  5. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

SPACEPORT: In pairs / groups, talk about the pros and cons of a spaceport being built on the edge of your town. Use the items in the left hand column to help your conversations.

 

PROS

CONS

Noise

 

 

Jobs

 

 

Being a world-famous town

 

 

Tourism

 

 

House prices

 

 

Roads and transport

 

 

Your idea

________________

 

 

 

Change partners / groups. Tell each other what your previous partner(s) said.

Decide whether you would be in favor or against a spaceport in your town.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find information about the Ras-Al-Khaimah Spaceport. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson. Did you all find out similar things?

3. MY DOORSTEP: Make a poster showing the pros and cons of a spaceport being built on your doorstep. Show your poster to your partner(s) in your next class. Did you all include similar pros and cons?

4. NEWS REPORT: You are at RAKIS (Ras-Al-Khaimah Intergalactic Spaceport) for the very first space flight. Write a news report of what you witnessed. Which VIPs were there? What events were there? Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Did everyone write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. F

d. T

e. T

f. T

g. F

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

age

era

b.

announcement

statement

c.

commercial

private enterprise

d.

various

several

e.

backing

support

f.

project

venture

g.

financiers

investors

h.

green light

go-ahead

i.

pride

delight

j.

spearheading

pioneering

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

The age of space tourism

came a step closer yesterday

b.

the announcement of plans to

build the world’s first spaceport

c.

the first

of many locations

d.

The initial point of departure for

a holiday in the heavens

e.

put his full financial and political

backing behind the ambitious project

f.

the total

estimated cost

g.

a team of UAE financiers

will provide the funds

h.

civil aviation authorities have

already given their green light

i.

commercial space travel will begin

and flourish

j.

excited about spearheading

this multi-billion dollar industry

GAP FILL:

World’s first spaceport announced

The age of space tourism came a step closer yesterday with the announcement of plans to build the world’s first spaceport. The company Space Adventures Ltd. announced in a press release its plans to develop a commercial spaceport in the United Arab Emirates. This will be the first of many locations. Other possible sites for spaceports include Singapore and various secret locations in North America. The initial point of departure for a holiday in the heavens looks like being the city of Ras-Al-Khaimah, an hour by car from Dubai. The Sheikh there has put his full financial and political backing behind the ambitious project.

The press report states that the “total estimated cost of the global spaceport development project is at least US$265 million”. Space Adventures Ltd. and a team of UAE financiers will provide the funds. The UAE’s civil aviation authorities have already given their green light  for spaceflights to operate in their airspace. Crown Prince Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi of Ras Al-Khaimah expressed pride in his city hosting “the site where suborbital commercial space travel will begin and flourish”. He added: “We are most excited about spearheading this multi-billion dollar industry.”

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