Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chris in running for space prize

Chris Stott, the Island's honorary representative to the space industry (and friend of NAMA and GWAMS), has been shortlisted for the Entrepreneur of the Year award by the British Interplanetary Society. Chris is chairman and CEO of ManSat and as every reader of this blog knows, his wife, Nicole is a NASA astronaut.

Also in the running for the Entrepreneur of the Year award are Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson, who is pioneering the concept of space tourism, and David Williams of Manx-based company Avanti Communications.
'The news came as a complete surprise,' said Mr Stott when Business News contacted him by email at his home in Houston, Texas. 'I'm stunned and thrilled at the same time. I consider this very much a team effort though, with all at ManSat and the government being honoured. I'm up against Richard Branson and David Williams of Avanti, also an Isle of Man company, so I might not have much of a chance, but just to be nominated is wonderful.'
The winner of the award will be announced at the Sir Arthur Clarke Gala Awards Ceremony which takes place at the end of the UK Space Conference which runs from March 24 to 28. The awards evening will be a black-tie dinner at Charterhouse School in Surrey and is the UK space industry's equivalent of the Oscars.

Mr Stott says that he is especially proud of the nomination as the awards are named in honour of the science fiction writer and visionary Sir Arthur C Clarke whose most famous work was 2001: A Space Odyssey.  The book was the basis for Stanley Kubrick's cult movie. Sir Arthur also had many visionary ideas about space exploration and was the first to foresee the potential for using satellites for global communications.
'While Richard Branson is doing new things in sub orbital space, we at ManSat are just trying our best to continue Sir Arthur's legacy, he did invent the idea of geostationary satellites after all,' said Mr Stott. 'He also passionately believed in free minds and free markets. Freedom to Flourish does work in space and I like to believe that if he were still with us today that he would be a great supporter of our work in the Island. It is little known that Sir Arthur was seminal in our work at ManSat and for the Island. From his time as Chancellor of the International Space University to conversations we had when he encouraged me to attend ISU and to think about satellites, he has inspired me from day one. Even being nominated for this award means so much. I feel like he's still up there with his shoulder to our wheel.'

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