During the 1970s members of the British Interplanetary Society participated in the world’s first credible Starship design study, Project Daedalus. This was led by members Alan Bond, Tony Martin and Bob Parkinson. These visionaries were attempting to address the Fermi Paradox and the apparent absence of intelligent life in the Cosmos, to see if interstellar travel was at least feasible. The conclusion of the study was that “interstellar travel is feasible”, suggesting that the answer to the Fermi Paradox must have some other answer. Project Daedalus was a theoretical study, but that didn’t stop spacecraft model builder Mat Irvine from constructing an excellent model of the Daedalus vehicle. Mat is famous for his excellent spacecraft models and his work with TV shows like The Sky at Night, Tommorow’s World and Robot Wars. The original Daedalus model Mat had built in the 1970s for the TV series “Spaceships of the Mind” is shown below.
In November 2011 Terry Regan was talent spotted at the North Essex Astrofest. Terry is a long-time fan of the work by Mat Irvine and at that time had only been attempting models like the Pioneer and Voyager probes. He was challenged to take up the technical task of building the British Interplanetary Society its own Daedalus model to replace the ageing older model, and for which could be displayed at the BIS HQ. Terry was nervous, knowing that Mat would be watching his work from the sidelines, but hopefully he is pleased with Terry’s efforts. This model building initiative was consistent with the ongoing successor design study Project Icarus. We are pleased to report that Terry has now completed the entire second engine stage of the model and we are pleased to show some of his latest photos below. He is taking some time out, but plans to begin work on the first engine stage by the spring. We can’t wait to see the final result and a formal ceremony will be organised to celebrate the handover of the model when ready. We hope that Terry will also give a lecture to BIS members, explaining the long process he went through in constructing an accurate engineering Starship machine.
Editor JBIS, Secretary BIS Technical Committee