Re: "it's unlikely we'll see much return from all this"
Following it via the various articles on the BBC and elsewhere, there's already a hell of a lot of inspiration coming to schools and industry from it. They're doing an excellent job of making it not just a "toys for the boys" enterprise, but one that's really engaging the public.
Even down to the small things like being able to sponsor it, and get your name onto its tailfin.
All in all top engineering and boffinry, pints all round (and a coke for Andy Green as the designated driver).