The Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma form of cancer finally claimed the life of Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft with Bill Gates, at the age of only 65. As a multi-billionaire Allen decided to invest his money in sports teams, cable television – and – into spaceflight research. Along with Burt Rutan and his Scaled Composite’s enterprise, Allen was the driving investor behind the creation of the suborbital rocket plane SpaceShipOne which took the Ansari X-Prize. And which later spawned the Virgin Galactic enterprise after Richard Branson invested in the technology..
Allen went on to form Stratolaunch Systems which has built a giant six-jet engine carrier aircraft for the air launch of several different types of launcher. He also formed the rocket company Vulcan Aerospace. Sadly, Allen was not to survive to see these projects reach fruition after he succumbed to a second bout of the lymphoma. However, we salute Allen for his advances in computers and for supporting space research. We give our condolences to his family and friends.
While Paul Allen was famous, less well known is the name of Joachim Ronneberg. He has passed away at the age of 99. And yet the world owes him and his co-patriots its thanks for their commando raid on the Norwegian that explosively sabotaged Hitler’s heavy water programme – effectively halting his attempt to build an atomic bomb. While Hitler’s Nazi Germany succeeded with many of his secret weapons – the V-2 (A4) rocket, the V-1 doodlebug cruise missile, the Me-163 Komet rocket plane etc, it failed to develop the most important one in time before the war ended: the atomic bomb. With it he could have laid waste to London, Moscow and even New York if he could have found a way of getting it there. We give our thanks to Ronneberg and his compatriots and give our condolences to his family and friends.