Thursday, January 27, 2005

Spaceport Queen countdown commences

Last year the delightful Juan de Dalmau invited me to give a lecture at the Kourou spaceport. For a while, it looked as if other commitments might get in the way, but everything has worked itself out and I am off to French Guiana in March. In the meantime I must contemplate my talk. Juan wants me to discuss Australian reactions when the nascent ESA - called ELDO - moved operations to Kourou from Woomera. Let me tell you right here that "pissed off" is an understatement. The French had been wooing the British for some time to throw their lot in with them, and then the Poms decided to buy US weaponry rather then developing their own at Woomera. The Australians felt betrayed, yet again, by Britain. They were happy to contaminate Australian soil with nuclear tests, but not prepared to demonstrate any commitment to the development of the colony.

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