On appointment as Astronomer Royal, he reiterated his long-held view that "space travel is utter bilge". Speaking to Time in 1956, Woolley noted"It's utter bilge. I don't think anybody will ever put up enough money to do such a thing . . . What good would it do us? If we spent the same amount of money on preparing first-class astronomical equipment we would learn much more about the universe . . . It is all rather rot"