SPACE is not as far away as many of us might think, a space expert revealed on a visit to the island.
Walter Peeters revealed that the ‘final frontier’ is in fact sometimes closer to the island than the UK capital.
Professor Peeters revealed that when the International Space Station (ISS) travels over the island it is as near as 380 kilometres away.
Compare this with the distance to London of just over 400 kilometres.
‘It is not a joke, the Isle of Man is closer to space than most people think,’ said Professor Peters, chief executive director of the International Institute of Space Commerce, (IISC) based at the Nunnery, Douglas.
He also predicted the day when space tourism really takes off and people will be able to get married after blasting off into orbit.
Professor Peeters is also the president of the International Space University in Strasbourg, France and said the island is well respected in the space industry.
He heads up the Douglas based institute which is a ‘think tank’ for space activity and ideas.
The institute was made an official member of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) - said to be the most prestigious institution in the space community - last October.
Professor Peters made the case for the island to be included in the federation and said he was delighted it had been accepted.
He said the federation is extremely influential and has 226 members from 59 countries. Professor Peters said the Isle of Man is playing an increasing role in the new space economy by creating a climate which allows companies to develop a competitive basis to operate from.
He expects space activity to go from strength to strength thanks to the encouragement of the independent IISC and joining the federation.
The federation, which holds a huge international gathering every year, advances knowledge about space, fostering the development and application of space assets by advancing global co-operation.
In a special document Professor Peters has championed the Isle of Man’s space industry and praised the government for working hard to establish the island as a serious player.