Astronauts, giants of space exploration, and a clutch of eminent academics honoured the character and accomplishments of the first man to walk on the Moon, Ohio-born, Neil Armstrong, at The Ohio State University in , Columbus, Ohio, USA this week. (Monday 8 May 2017)
And amongst them, moderating a panel discussion at The Armstrong Space Symposium on Space Applications for Sustainable, Resilient and Emerging Economies, was Steve Lee, CEO of Edinburgh business, Astrosat.
Mr Lee said: “It was an incredible honour for me to attend the Symposium, and even more so to have been invited to moderate a panel. I believe plenty of productive ideas came out of it and we can follow Neil Armstrong’s example in positively, and profoundly, influencing the future of space.”
The prestigious event was attended by such distinguished veterans of space travel as Michael Collins, Gemini 10 and Apollo 11 with Neil Armstrong, Walt Cunningham, Apollo 7, Al Worden, Apollo 15 and Dr Harrison Schmitt, the last living crew member of the final mission to the Moon, Apollo 17, and the only geologist to explore the lunar surface.
Mr Lee’s invitation to moderate a key session arose as a result of Astrosat’s work in providing space based solutions to Earth bound problems alongside Dr John M Horack, whose installation as the inaugural Neil Armstrong Chair in Aerospace Policy in the Ohio State College of Engineering marked the culmination of the event.
Astrosat specialises in innovative space technology and is working currently on a UK Space Agency project to stop deforestation of vast tracts of land in Guatemala in Central America, particularly where the country borders Mexico.
Using Earth-viewing instruments, it monitors forests and detects illegal activity, allowing law enforcement agencies to take action against offenders. The technology will help the Guatemalan government agencies to monitor large forested areas.
Mr Lee said: "Data and information from space sources is increasingly important in allowing countries which do not have significant satellite resources to implement action programmes on issues such as this which directly affect the lives of their citizens.
“Scotland, and Astrosat, have an increasingly important role to play in using the power of Earth observation. The sector is growing rapidly and will help drive a highly innovative economy forward, especially once the Prestwick Spaceport in Ayrshire gets up and running.”
George Kerevan, who is standing for re-election as MP for East Lothian, and has championed the Scottish space industry in Parliament, said, "I am delighted that Steve Lee has been representing Astrosat - and Scotland - at The Armstrong Space Symposium.
“Astrosat is a company of global importance, both to the space industry and to earth science, and I am consistently impressed by how it continues to break new ground in using satellite technology to diagnose or predict problems worldwide.”
Astrosat has been long regarded as one of the leading businesses in Europe’s space exploitation industry, having repeatedly won the Continent’s pre-eminent award for utilisation of space, the Copernicus Masters Challenge.