To concentrate almost exclusively on unmanned satellites in Earth orbit, which is the acknowledged UK policy, is short-sighted. It is as if, 500 years ago, we had decided only to improve our fleet of beach-launched fishing luggers, while other nations put their resources into designing vessels to cross the Atlantic. I dare say we could have made a nice profit at first, by selling our improved fisheries technology to the French, Spanish and Dutch, but we would have lost out in the end.
Manned spaceflight is not just a matter of 'flag waving', nor is deep-space exploration. Britain should stop its spoiling tactics within the European Space Agency, and join with our colleagues, along with the Americans and Russians, in the exploration and commercial development of space on all fronts.
DAVID A. ROTHERY
The Open University
Milton Keynes, BuckinghamshireReuse content