The British Interplanetary Society Delivers a Plaque to SSTL for Flight on UK’s TechDemoSat-1

Press Release – Tuesday 5th March 2013:

Guildford, Tuesday 5th March 2013

TechDemoSat-1 whose launch arrangements were announced today by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) will be carrying a plaque commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the founding of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS).  The Plaque will be mounted on TechDemoSat-1 and then carried into orbit.

Plaque handover; on left Doug Liddle and Luis Gomes of SSTL and on the right Gerry Webb of CST and BIS.

The Plaque was handed over to Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) last month in a ceremony conducted by BIS Council Member Gerry Webb, and Luis Gomes of the SSTL TechDemoSat-1 team who are building the satellite.

Gerry Webb is General Director of Commercial Space Technologies Limited who are the brokers for the launch of SSTL TechDemoSat-1 with the Russian Space Agency. Roscosmos.  He arranged for the Plaque to be carried with both SSTL and Roscosmos.

The President of the British Interplanetary Society, Alistair Scott said, “This is a fantastic way of celebrating our 80th year and reminding people of the work we have done since the early 1930s to promote spaceflight and the exploration and use of space.  We are so grateful to Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd and the TechDemoSat-1 Team for allowing us to fly with them”

BIS Plaque on the TDS-1 Satellite

Sir Martin Sweeting, Executive Chairman of SSTL commented “I am delighted that SSTL is able to offer this opportunity to BIS, an organisation which has done so much to promote and foster the UK’s interest in space”.  TechDemoSat-1 is a truly British spacecraft, designed and manufactured here and flying British payloads, so it is a fitting vehicle for this commemorative plaque.”

The plaque is identical to the two plaques that will be carried to the International Space Station in April 2013.  It is 4 cm a diameter disk, 3 mm deep and made of high grade aluminium alloy.  Weighing less than 5 g each it is precision machined to depict the Society’s 80th Anniversary Logo.  It was sponsored by Reaction Engines Limited, and was made in the company’s machining division, Brite Precision.

Notes for Editors

1) The British Interplanetary Society is the World’s oldest organisation dedicated solely to the promotion of spaceflight.  It was founded in Liverpool, England on 13th October 1933 and began detailed studies of ‘Moonship’ rockets in 1937, Moon Landers in 1938 and steam powered manned space stations in 1948.


2) TechDemoSat-1 is a satellite platform, derived from heritage technology, which will function as an ‘in-orbit test facility’ for innovative UK payloads and software. It is being built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd working with UK industry and academia.  It will trial UK space technologies and hopefully win substantial International business for the companies collaborating on the project. The project is part-funded through the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).


4) Commercial Space Technologies Ltd. is an independent general consultancy in the space field. Amongst the many services it provides is the brokerage and management of the launches of small satellites in Russia. Over the last 20 years 30 satellite launches have been managed on 5 different launchers from 3 different cosmodromes.


3) Brite Precision is a high precision machining company based in Newbury, England.  It is owned by Reaction Engines Limited.


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