World Space Week | What Can We Learn From The Final Frontier?
Exploration is in our DNA. The desire to expand our horizons and learn as much as we can about our surroundings is in our nature. Here at SC, we love space. It excites us. I think we've all looked out at the stars on those cold winters night thinking about what lies beyond. It may be a cliché that children want to grow up to be astronauts, but some follow this dream and eventually venture out into the great unknown.
For World Space Week we chatted to some of our amazing speakers from the space industry to learn more about their galactic journeys.
Dr Scott Parazynski is a highly decorated veteran of five spaceflights, and we were lucky enough to hear about the lessons he learnt from being in space which we can apply to life here on Earth!
The Power of Diverse Teams
“I learned the power of multi-disciplinary teams, and I've carried this on to all my roles since NASA. When you get people from different backgrounds, skill sets and perspectives into a room together, and you actively seek out dissenting viewpoints, you invariably come up with the very best solutions.”
Scott also shared his thoughts on why he remains so excited about the future of space exploration.
“I'm fascinated by the new era of commercial human spaceflight we're now in the midst of; Branson's Virgin Galactic, Musk's SpaceX and Bezo's Blue Origin, to name a few. I think sending astronauts to explore of Mars is our ultimate human destiny, and I do believe it may happen much sooner than later. Elon Musk has even designed a rocket called BFR - I believe it stands for "Big Fun Rocket" - that could take 100 colonists at a time to Mars within the next couple decades. I hope that when we do send the first astronauts to Mars, it won't be a short "plant-the-flag" visit, but the first steps towards eventual colonization.”
Small Businesses Hold The Key To The Future
If there’s one person who understands commercial human spaceflight, it’s former president of Virgin Galactic, Will Whitehorn, who took the concept from dream to reality. Will expanded on what the space industry will look like in the near future.
“In Britain, by 2020, we’re going to have two space ports – one in the North, one in the South. And so, in Britain we’ll be capable of launching small commercial satellites as well as space tourists.
I’m on the board for a company called AAC Microtec which bought another company I was Chairman of called Clyde Space. We make very small satellites called Cubesats which we can mass produce and then group together to make a larger satellite. Companies like this are the new era for the space industry. It’s no longer all about very large companies who are reliant on government contracts, we’re now in the era of new, small, innovative businesses.
Lots of companies now want to gather data by using satellites. Soon we will be able to see what the tyre pressure on all your busses are in real-time by just using satellites. There are also many dirty industries on the planet such as server farms, which have overtaken transport as the leading cause of CO2 in the atmosphere. We can put all of those in space.”
The Great Beyond
With so many practical and commercial applications for innovation in space becoming a reality, are we becoming desensitised to the magic of the final frontier? It’s often said that everyone can remember where they were at the time of the moon landing, so when will we see the next great event in the history of galactic exploration?
Professor Anu Ojha OBE is the Director of the National Space Academy at the National Space Centre in Leicester. Anu is hugely excited by what’s to come in the future of the industry and sees us returning to the lunar surface very soon.
“Since 1972, and the last human mission to the Moon (Apollo 17), we have been hugging the surface of the Earth – only a couple of hundred miles up, and less than a thousandth of the distance covered by the 24 humans who, nearly half a century ago, became the only members of the human race to voyage to an alien world. But the lessons we have learned during that time – about long-term human survival in space, human psychology and innovative technological developments essential for human survival in the harshest of environments - were essential for the next phase of exploration that’s just around the corner. Within the next five years, we will see a return of humans to deep space in lunar exploration – within 15 years, the establishment of a permanently-occupied lunar base. This will be our stepping stone for future human exploration of the Solar System.”
Anu Ojha OBE
Not all of us entered such an exciting industry as space, but it’s clear that there are still lessons that we can learn from these extraordinary people which can apply to our every day lives. And according to the experts, space exploration is still as exciting as ever so perhaps we may still get the chance to travel out among the stars after all.
For more info any of our speakers, call us on +44 (0) 20 7607 7070 or email us at email@example.com.
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