We will be hearing this historic statement many times this year as the world remembers the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

We get excited about new frontiers, new technologies to get us there and dream of a range of possible future worlds.  But underneath the excitement lie hard yards. Practical realities pull our imagination back to earth.

When chairing the space steering group for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, I was fortunate to go on a trade mission to Mojave Air and Space Port. This once disused military airport, located in a desert, is now home to over 60 businesses engaged in flight development, highly advanced aerospace design, flight test research and, using its natural resources, more. The potential for Newquay to use its natural assets for something inspirational is there.

We are blessed in the South West to have a strong cluster of aerospace and space related industries, working in partnership with other parts of the country and beyond. Newquay’s ambition to deliver a Spaceport is important but the existing cluster of South West based space and aerospace businesses is strong enough to support the UK’s “space race” with or without a Spaceport. So the question is not about the “space industry” in the South West. The better question is to ask is what our existing businesses in the region are doing to ensure that the prize can be won.

The prize (as enunciated by the LEP’s Space Action Plan) is: “1,000 space technology jobs by 2025 and to double that by 2030. This could generate a further 8,000 jobs in the space supply chain, and grow our economy by over £1 billion.”

But it is not just these stats that impress. The South West has the conditions to attract pioneering engineers, scientists and many others pushing barriers to continue to make the region a great place to live and work.

We cannot afford to let this opportunity slip. We have existing sectors that are well placed to build on their existing infrastructures to grow and create jobs. A review of Stephens Scown’s own client base sees a plethora of businesses supporting the industry directly and indirectly: our clients in the transport, communications, military, public projects and logistics sectors are watching closely and acting on the aerospace and space related opportunities.

I would encourage businesses not currently active in this to understand and grasp the opportunities that exist. Whilst my term on the LEP Board has expired, I remain convinced that a Spaceport will be delivered in Newquay.

Who in the 1960’s thought that satellites – with limited capacity – would become integral parts of our daily lives?  Who foresaw that the early tenants at Mojave would foster the right conditions for 60 businesses and hundreds of high tech jobs?

Together, the South West can roll up its sleeves and position itself to attract more talent and businesses to the region. It is time for our businesses to take that step.

Gavin Poole is a partner in the corporate team at Stephens Scown LLP and a former member of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP. Stephens Scown is one of the partners in the Back the South West campaign. To contact Gavin, please call 01872 265100 or email solicitors@stephens-scown.co.uk.