A BRIDPORT man has won a prestigious international space award for his breakthrough work in satellite broadband communications.
Peter Garland, director of advanced programs at Canada-based Macdonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) has been awarded the Aerospace Communications Award for 2014 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
He has been recognised by the AIAA for his work as part of a trans-Canada team that developed high-frequency satellite broadband communications.
This is now the standard method used for mobile communications, such as accessing the internet and the use of apps from mobile phones and other portable devices, especially in remote locations.
Mr Garland was born and bred in Bridport and met his wife, Daveen, in the town when she worked as a schoolteacher at Bridport Primary School.
He worked for nine years in Dorchester on Dorchester Radio, before moving to Birmingham and Canada to join SPAR Aerospace, later renamed to MDA, as he pursued his dream to work on new space-age technologies.
Mr Garland is only the second British person to be recognised with this award after Arthur C Clarke, who wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey, and will be given the award at a glitzy ceremony held in San Diego.
Mr Garland said: “I will be extremely proud to accept this award, being awarded the same award as Arthur C Clarke is enough for me, but remembering my roots, the places I have been able to visit and all the folks that I have met along the way gives me the biggest lift.”
A spokesman for the AIAA said Mr Garland was given the award to honour his “technical and management contributions to the advancement of space and ground technology.”
Mr Garland has spoken fondly of his time in West Dorset, where he played football for Chideock, and the couple still visit Bridport every couple of months and still have close ties to the area, with friends and family still living in the town.
Speaking to the Bridport News, he added: “I am grateful that I still retain such good friends from my Chideock Football team days. They are still an important part of my life. I think I learned a lot about loyalty and teamwork from them, something I am able to pass along to young engineers today.
“I am sure during the awards event in San Diego there will be a time when, as we often do, Daveen and I look at one another and say ‘what are a couple of Bridport kids doing here.’ “You can take the lad out of Bridport but you cannot take Bridport out of the lad.”