“Go West, Young Man, Go West” – Famous words that captured the zeitgeist of a young nation looking to grab onto its belief of Manifest Destiny and make it real.

If the Westward expansion of America was fueled by the great California Gold Rush, it was the industries that played a supporting role that helped settle and sustain the people who flowed down the Oregon Trail. It was the yeomen like the farmers, ranchers, restaurateurs, railway men and other sundry stalwarts of enterprise and industry who played a far greater role in securing the Manifest Destiny of a nation than that played by the adventurous and oft lauded miners and prospectors who hunted down that most precious of metals.

Today this great nation of ours, and indeed the whole world, stands at a similar crossroads, do we look within and try to sustain domestic enterprise with programs that, depending on whom you ask, may or may not work? Do we look to trade agreements of ever increasing complexities to sustain flagging growth? Shall we try even more stimulus programs of dubious merit and pray that the insanity of doing the same thing over and over again yields a positive result? Or do we look up and let free the sinews of economic growth to fuel a new generation of dreamers to carve their own path to a new Manifest Destiny?

Alright, that seemed a little long winded even to me! But our dependence on satellite tech is nothing to laugh about. Remember the 1998 failure of the Galaxy 4 satellite which temporarily rendered some 45 million pagers useless.

At the moment there are only twelve countries and the EU which have space agencies with the proven capability to send satellites to outer space, of which NASA is the clear leader. All of whom subsist on Government funds and subsidies.

All of whom have faced the wrath of protesters for ‘wasting money on grandiose experiments, while there are people starving on Earth.’

12 countries who between them have launched over 8000 satellites into space. Most of these satellites are defunct with about 2000 functioning satellites revolving around the earth at the moment.

Twelve space agencies and two thousand satellites that between them pretty much run the planet today. Any and all commercial transactions that take place via satellites (which is pretty much everything of note), all mobile based communications (when did you last use a hardline phone?) depends on the GPS system now, not to mention all remote automation and navigation software, the various communication protocols which are getting refined on a day to day basis. The list just goes on.