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A Conference Celebrating 50 years of the UK in Space

The Ariel 1 satellite, known as UK1 prior to its successful launch into orbit April 26 1962, was the world’s first international space mission. The satellite was built and launched by NASA and all but one of the experiments provided by United Kingdom universities. This bilateral collaboration between the United States and UK was a direct outcome of the Eisenhower administration’s 1959 offer to launch allies’ space science instruments, free of charge, on US rockets; this, in turn, a political response to the Soviet Union’s launching of the world’s first artificial satellite on October 4th, 1957. The Ariel programme placed the UK in the vanguard of western European satellite development in the formative years of the space age and this legacy is reflected in the country’s very successful space and satellite sector today. The spirit of cooperation brokered with Ariel set a bench mark for the international space programmes that followed and especially those of the European Space Research Organisation and Agency, the UK being a founding member of both.

This conference, organised by the Science Museum and the UK Space Agency, celebrates Ariel’s history and legacy and looks forward to the exciting programmes and missions of future UK space activity. Conference speakers will include many of the UK’s leading space scientists from the last half century including Professors Peter Willmore (University of Birmingham), Ken Pounds (University of Leicester) and John Quenby (Imperial College), all of whom worked on Ariel 1.

See for further details.