Over the past year, however, I’ve been working on a dissertation entitled “Should the UK invest in human spaceflight and, if so, how?” This dissertation took a broad look at where the UK space community has come from, where it is and where it’s going. Through this I have learned a lot about why the UK took such a limited approach to space in the past and how this contrasts with the efforts and results of other nations, how UK space policy has changed so dramatically over the past decade and what future opportunities are going to look like. My conclusion is that over the coming five to ten years, perhaps sooner, we’re going to see an intersection of this changed government approach to space, growing public enthusiasm and ‘space-mindedness’ following Tim Peake’s mission to the ISS and the possible opening of a spaceport, and the availability of launchers and operators that can slash the cost of getting into space. These things are happening now, and it’s important that we move quickly to seize the moment before we get left behind.
Several years ago I started this blog to act as a platform to share my enthusiasm for human spaceflight. I had been inspired by a number of experiences, such as the UK Space conference and meeting several astronauts. At the same time, however, I was also struggling with the combination of Asperger syndrome, a degree in Space Systems Engineering, and the aftermath of a family bereavement, so unfortunately I had to let this blog go for a while.
A few years ago I participated briefly in the Space Entrepreneurs UK meetup group. That group subsequently folded and it seems there’s been little activity on that front for a while. It seems like now is a good time to get it started up again. The British Interplanetary Society has been looking at the future of astronautics itself recently and I know that some members, including some who were involved in Space Entrepreneurs UK originally, might be supportive of this. In the meantime, I hope to be able to report on some of what I’ve learned and examine it more deeply.