Former British Space Agency Chief Killed By Mesothelioma

Barrow, U.K.—The former head of the British National Space Centre, Britain’s contribution to the European Space Agency, has died as a result of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma. Dr. Derrick Gould, 73, died on June 22. An inquest was held on Monday to look into the cause of death, carried out by Ian Smith, coroner for South and East Cumbria. It was ruled that he died from an “industrial disease.”
Dr. Gould hails from Barrow, and went on to study at Oxford, where he earned a doctorate in 1962. From there, he enjoyed a long career at the National Space Centre, first working on the development of rocket fuels and motors at the site in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. From there, he moved to Farnborough to work on small satellites. He eventually became head of space projects. Early in life, Dr. Gould spent time working as a longshoreman at Vickers on summer breaks. It was here that it is suspected he was exposed to the asbestos that would later kill him. Mr. Smith concluded his findings, pointing out his time in Vickers. “Of some interest is that he worked at a holiday job at the shipyard for three months,” he said. He also spoke of the results of his finding: “I have no doubt that in the course of that he would have been exposed to asbestos. Mesothelioma has a known scientific correlation back to asbestos of 98 percent, it’s a very strong possibility. I am far more than 50 percent satisfied that the cause of death is industrial disease.” Pat Gould, Dr. Gould’s second wife, remembered the openness her husband had about his disease: “He gave a speech at a mesothelioma conference in May. He managed the first three lines and then I finished it off. He felt that was the best way to approach it, to be open about it. He wasn’t morbid about it. If anyone asked him about it, he was always very open.”