UK Space Program – British Space Program


UK Space Program – British Space Program includes Black Arrow Rocket. Prospero was the first all-British satellite. It was launched in October 28, 1971 by a Black Arrow rocket. The picture below is the Black Arrow.

British Rockets and Satellite Launchers

Bkack Arrow - British Space Program


According to the UK Space Agency (as of Oct 2012), the UK space sector is worth £7.5 billion and supports 60,000 jobs across a variety of industries.

UK Space History

1933 British Interplanetary Society was founded. It is the oldest space advocacy organisation in the world.

1955 De Havilland’s Blue Streak medium-range missile.

1957 Royal Aircraft Establishment’s Black Knight rocket used in 22 launches from Woomera, Australia.

1958 British National Committee for Space Research set up by Royal Society: later absorbed by government.

1962 Ariel 1 was the first British satellite and the world’s first international satellite. It was launched on a Thor-Delta rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, USA on 26 April 1962.

1964 Europa rocket lifts off as British and French set up European Launcher Development Organisation.

1967   Ariel 3 was the first satellite to be built entirely in Britain. It was launched on a Scout launch vehicle from the Vandenberg Air Force Base on 5 May, 1967.

1969 Skynet satellite launched from Cape Canaveral.

1971  Prospero was the only British satellite to be launched using an all-British rocket. UK placed Prospero satellite into orbit using final Black Arrow rocket in the Woomera launch site, Australia.

1974 UK is founder member of European Space Agency. French develops Ariane launcher.

1985  British National Space Centre was established. It was a government body that co-ordinated civil space activities for the UK. It was replaced by the UK Space Agency on 1 April 2010.

1991 Chemist Helen Sharman becomes the first Briton in space, as a guest aboard the then Soviet-Mir Station.

1992 Proposed British space shuttle Hotol, initiated by British Aerospace, is rejected as too expensive.

1999 Picosat, built by surrey Space Centre, is first foreign satellite to be brought by US Air Force.

2003 Britain’s Beagle 2 lander was to parachute onto surface of Mars as part of ESA’s Mars Express mission, unfortunately failed. It was proposed by Professor Colin Pillinger of the Open University. Beagle 2 was to look for life and conduct geochemical and atmospheric analyses.

2004  Richard Branson announced that Virgin Galactic would sponsor SpaceShipOne’s X Prize flights.

2010 UK Space Agency was established on 1 April 2010 to replace the British National Space Centre (BNSC).

2015 Tim Peake was British European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut to visit the International Space Station. He was launched on a 15 December 2015 on a Soyuz rocket to the ISS and returned to Earth on 18 June 2016. He was the first man to run a marathon in space (London Marathon).

2010 UK Space Agency was established on 1 April 2010 to replace the British National Space Centre (BNSC).

Did You Know?

Arthur C. Clarke (sci-fi writer) was a former Chairman of the British Interplanetary Society.

British company Reaction Engines Limited is developing Skylon (single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane). At present they are developing the SABRE combined-cycle, air-breathing rocket propulsion system. They plan to test the engine in the future.

The Black Arrow Rocket: A History of a Satellite Launch Vehicle and Its Engines 
by Douglas Millard

A Vertical Empire: The History of the Uk Rocket and Space Programme, 1950-1971 by C. N. Hill

British in Space Links:

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