On 26 April 1962, Britain became the third space-faring nation with the launch of Ariel-1, the first satellite to carry experiments devised and operated by UK universities. It was the world’s first international satellite. Britain had stepped up to an offer from NASA to launch scientific satellites at an international meeting on space research in 1959. The mission heralded the beginning of the UK’s now thriving satellite sector and its distinguished history of international collaboration in space. Fifty years on, the UK space sector is a world leader in space science, innovative technology and applications development.
To mark the anniversary of the launch on 26 April 2012 the Science Museum is opening a display in the Exploring Space gallery. The display will consist of scale models of the Ariel 1 and Ariel 4 satellites as well as a flight spare of the Ariel 5 cosmic X-ray detector. Find out what else is on display in the Exploring Space gallery.
To further celebrate 50 years of the UK in space, a two-day conference will be taking place co-hosted by the Science Museum and the UK Space Agency from 26 April.
As part of the conference programme there will be personal insights from the teams involved in the original design and build of the Ariel series of satellites, as well as those working on the flagship programmes of today and tomorrow. Conference speakers will include Professors Peter Willmore (University of Birmingham), Ken Pounds (University of Leicester) and John Quenby (Imperial College), all of whom worked on Ariel 1.
This year's anniversary marks a legacy of fifty years of knowledge and innovation in the UK space sector, and will herald a new direction for space in Britain over the next fifty years.
To find out more and register for this FREE conference celebrating the anniversary of Ariel-1, please visit the conference website: http://ukinspace50-conference.com
Caption for the picture: Engineering flight spare of Ariel 1 in the Science Museum’s Exploration of Space Gallery, 1986 Science and Society Picture Library