Optimistic future…

Science minister Lord Drayson recently announced his support for a UK-manned space programme. I hope this is not just tub-thumping by a politico wishing to gain a reputation, and that there will be a subsequent increased involvement by UK industry. I am also worried by negative comments regarding funding posted on newspaper websites.

There may not be an entirely traceable linear trickle-down of benefits from space flight, but the Apollo moon-shot, for example, brought with it a huge increase in, for example, our knowledge of ballistics, high-speed flight characteristics, specialist coatings, logistics, test procedures, computers and control systems.

Once you have pushed those areas to their limits you have a very strong basis for the development of novel technologies, which gives your indigenous industry a huge boost. This generates income from overseas, and benefits the economy as a whole.

For me, though, the most compelling motivation comes from the fact that man is born to explore and change. I just wish this country would shake off its lethargy and start doing something noble again.

What we are missing today is the exhilaration of adventure, someone to emulate and the chance to be a part of an optimistic future. People need to experience what the team behind Neil Armstrong did 40 years ago, Yuri Gagarin seven years earlier, the Wright Brothers over a century ago and all the way back to Columbus and Marco Polo.

With regard to funding, if this gets the green light you won’t be looking at a major spend for a year or two, time enough for more stability and growth within the financial sector.

When I worked for an aircraft company we couldn’t get city funding because the financial institutions wanted a return within three months, and that did for us.

If the City had possessed the vision and commitment to look for a return in three or five years then we may still have that company today, with a product ready for the next phase of air travel.

Stephen Mosley, Kenwood