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Monday, 16 May 2016

The power of the little things in the big things

The title of this blog might seem a bit silly, and even phrased poorly.

Perhaps it is but I wanted a simple title to convey something which in my view is really simple and yet so powerful.

It is an undeniable fact that what makes machines works is the care taken in making sure that all the details are right. No machine, no grand scheme, no space mission, no policy would work if the details were not just right. 

So, yes, the details are important. Why else would there be the expression: the devil is in the details? An expression, by the way, that exists in more than one language.

But the details too have their place. And this place is none else than the refinement of the grand scheme of things.

The greatness of  a plan lies both in the goal that it aims for and in the details towards making it happen. An overarching aim, a worthy objective, a vision, if you will, of what should be striven for.
Dreams and responsible action are big goals - the details make them reality.

Details without a goal are just as lost and lonely as a goal without details.

In space activities all of this applies. And knowing when to address which with adequate intensity is of the utmost importance. Space activities are not one-offs. Each fits, each should fit in a grand scheme. No detail should be wasted by fighting by itself - wandering aimlessly in the vastness of vacuum.

For this reason it is big objectives that we need:
 - sustainability of space activities - clean space both in technology and through policies
- space situational awareness, space weather, space traffic and capabilities to protect assets and life both in space as well as on Earth - debris - active deorbit, just-in-time measures, asteroids
- space transportation as a seamless chain - from Earth and in orbit - as a service
- service oriented space
- science in all activities

For ESA and for me there is one overarching goal:
European spirit, identity and cohesion

I will be writing more about this.