The next ‘Cosford’ conference event is being organized by the BIS West Midlands branch in conjunction with the BIS History group and is to be held over the weekend 18/19 March 2017. This will be the 5th in the series and as before will be held at the Royal Air Force Museum facilities at Cosford, Shifnal, Shropshire, TF11 8UP. For some directions, please click here.

For the provisional programme please click here.

For more information for those delegates that have already booked, please click here.

Date: 18-19 March 2017

Join us for an entertaining and informative weekend at the RAF Cosford Museum. To book your ticket, please click here.

Papers arranged include:

  • John Scott-Scott – A Personal Perspective (Alan Bond)
  • Tour of the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre
  • The CARET Group (John Harlow)
  • The Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty 1987 – 30 years on Greenham Common and other sites (Wayne Cocroft)
  • Reflections on Some Launch Campaigns (Gerry Webb)
  • Westcott: Status and Outlook (Daniel Jubb)
  • Woomera: Then and Now (Robin Brand)
  • Pressed Propellants (Mark Perman)

Tickets are priced at £85 for members, £99 for non-members for the weekend. Alternatively, a single day can be booked for £49 for members (£59 for non-members).

The ticket price includes entry to the talks, lunch, tea and coffee on both days. You will need to make your own travel and accommodation arrangements to Cosford. You are strongly advised to make flexible hotel bookings in case there is a need to cancel the event at short notice. There is ample parking and delegates can collect a pass at the museum to park for free. See for more detail, including a map. A dinner on Saturday night will be self-funded and a table has been booked at the Taverners Telford – The Severn Gorge pub at 19.30. All delegates and speakers have been included in this booking so please let us know if you cannot join us.

Early light Alloy (002)

Early design for a 21 Inch Dia Pressed Propellant Sustainer Rocket Motor. Diagram taken from “Cheese Power or Pressed Propellants”


In the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s there was sufficient collective memories available from those still with us who had been active in the field of rocket propulsion and associated projects to enable full-day history symposia programmes to be run on individual topics. In scope, the programmes attempted to update the existing knowledge base and also include those unwritten and sometimes unreported accounts of the history of UK rocketry.

The British Interplanetary Society (BIS) was at the very forefront of organizing some of these history symposia. Some examples are cited:

– Black Knight                                    23 March 1988, British Interplanetary Society

– UK Solid Propellant Rocketry         27 September 1990, British Interplanetary Society

– Black Arrow                                     31 October 1990, British Interplanetary Society

– Sounding Rockets                            27 August 1991, British Interplanetary Society

– European Rocketry in the 1930’s     22 September 1993, British Interplanetary Society

All of these symposia were well received and well attended.

Cosford Events:

In later years it became apparent that not only was the primary source for first-hand accounts fast disappearing but in more recent years BROHP activities had ceased. There was thus a gap that Cosford continued to address. The first BIS history symposium held there in 2000 [Cosford I] was on the subject of ‘Rocket Planes’ since when a broader range of topics was encompassed, focussing on People, Projects, Places and Propellants. These four topics broadly covered the spectrum.

The rationale for running Cosford events can be summarized:

– continue to capture as fully as possible remaining personal/first-hand accounts

– back up the above accounts with second-hand and researched information

– add any anecdotal and supporting information

– contribute to the body of historical knowledge through discussion and debate

– provide a sourced of learned papers for publication in BIS’ Space Chronicle

– provide a centre for such activities outside of London

Events have been held previously at the RAF Museum, Cosford:

1.         10 – 11 November 2000

2.         16 – 18 September 2005

3.         05 – 06 November 2011

4.         12 – 13 April 2014

The next such event is planned for the weekend of 18/19 March 2017 where an exciting programme is in the works.

John Harlow

If you wish to present a paper details can be sent to the BIS via email.

Be sociable; support the BIS!