|Will Isle Of Man Be A 21st Century Space Power?|
|Written by Jeff Krukin|
|Tuesday, 22 January 2008|
It isn't very big; at 33 miles long by 13 miles wide it has just 227 square miles of living space... and 40% of that is uninhabited. It isn't near a spaceport; it lies in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland. It doesn't have a government space agency (one of its key advantages, according to Chris Stott, Honorable Representative to the Space Community). So what in the white cliffs of Dover has it got?
It has leaders with vision, as I had the pleasure of discovering during my May 2007 weeklong visit to the island (I was Executive Director of the Space Frontier Foundation at the time). During meetings with Tim Craine, Director of Space Commerce for The Treasury, The Hon. Alex Downie, Minister of Space for The Treasury, and The Hon. Allan Bell, Minister for the Treasury, one point was made again and again; the government views the emerging commercial space industry as a significant economic growth driver for the island's economy, and Isle of Man will be a major financial hub for this industry. Thanks to its well-regulated financial industry and zero corporate tax environment, it may just become the Switzerland of NewSpace... without the chocolate. People like ManSat Limited's Ian Jarritt (Finance Director) and Bryan Stott (Chairman) are working hard to make this happen.
And it isn't just the government that understands the economic development potential, local industry does as well. Consider the island's Space Industry Group, which includes KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, HSBC, Eumetsat, ManSat, Dickinson Cruickshank, CVI Technical Optics, and others in the financial, legal, technical and other industries. It doesn't stop there. The International Space University announced last September that its new International Institute for Space Commerce will be located at the island's International Business School. More recently, Odyssey Moon became the first team to complete the registration for the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE. Guess where the company is headquartered?
In the 1959 comedy, "The Mouse That Roared," the impoverished Duchy of Grand Fenwick wages war on the US, hoping to lose and then receive monetary aid (hilariously, it wins). Watch out Grand Fenwick, there's a new mouse in town.
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