Rocket Man

Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing was my spiritual awakening moment. I recall watching the grainy TV pictures awestruck at the sheer mind bending reality of what was happening. Growing up in Liverpool, a rare bus ride was about as exciting as travel got for me. Mostly, if we needed to go somewhere, we walked.

I recall in the days following the Apollo 11 moon landing looking up at our near neighbour in the night sky and imagining the vastness of space would soon be ours for the taking. I can still feel the sense of wonder of (my ten-year old self) being lost in an imaginary world of space rockets and interplanetary joy riding.

Forty five years after the last man set foot on the moon and, while my travels have progressed beyond the occasional bus ride, I am as far from space travel today as my earthbound ten-year old self was. In better news, something I have been passionate about supporting for a few years now may be about to make it into space.

The Creative Computing Club has been selected for Phase 2 of the European Space Agency Astro Pi Challenge. If all goes well, it looks like they will be launching some code into outer space on the International Space Station (ISS).

I have written before about the Creative Computing Club, and how unintended consequences can have positive impacts. The small things we do each day can lead to bigger things later. None of it would be possible without the drive and determination of Matthew Applegate, the founder of the Creative Computing Club. Matthew in turn has benefited from the support of the University of Suffolk who in turn have attracted support from technology giants Fujitsu and Intel.

The University of Suffolk prides itself in being a university of the community, for its community. Raising aspirations and driving economic growth are central to its mission. Since 2015, the University has supported the Creative Computing Club by donating time in the Fujitsu Intel Innovation Hub in its James Hehir building.

The Creative Computing Club is entering a new phase with the launch of the Charitable Foundation. The foundation aims to help young people aged 11 to 22 from low-income families in Suffolk, purchase computers and software to help with their education.

While I may never make it into space, though I quite like the idea of having my ashes distributed there, I am excited that the small things I have been able to do may help someone else, or at least their computer code, make it beyond the confines of our own planet.

Originally published at on November 24, 2017.