Current Topics in Rocket Propulsion – An Open Source Conference

Date: Saturday 14th April 2018

Time: 9.00am to 5.15pm

Venue: Westcott Sports and Social Club (Formerly the V100 Club of the MoD Rocket Propulsion Establishment), Ashendon Rd, Westcott, Buckinghamshire HP18 0NZ. For driving directions, please click here. 

Please note that registration using the link below is essential if you want lunch! The deadline for registration so that we can finalise the order with the caterers is 9.45am on Friday 13th April. There are no food outlets onsite so please register in time. 

NB: registration is now closed. We will have some room for those that turn up on the day, at a slightly reduced price because catering has been finalised. There is a bar on site that will sell drinks and crisps.

If you plan on getting public transport from London, please note that Aylesbury is the nearest station with a cab rank. This page has some local taxi numbers near the bottom of the page. 

(There are two nearer stations, Haddenham & Thame Parkway and Aylesbury Vale Parkway, that don’t have a cab rank so please order a cab in advance if you plan on alighting at either of these stations).

We have also been advised that there is a local pub with accommodation and good food at Ashendon, one mile from Westcott up the hill. One of our Fellows heartily recommends it and the landlord has very kindly offered a discount to anyone going to the event who plans to stay or dine over that weekend: you just need to mention the British Interplanetary Society.

Click here for the final Programme; this document has the paper abstract and speaker biographies. This will be emailed to all delegates. A limited number of bound copies will be available on the day as souvenirs in return for a modest donation.

Join us for a fantastic day, beginning with Bob Parkinson and ending with Reaction Engines!

* Cost effective sponsorship opportunities are available, to help keep the conference prices low and encourage student participation! Please click here for details.

When research into rocketry recommenced in the UK in the mid 1930’s it was primarily military funded and hence classified. Little information was made available to the general public about UK rocket research and the classified conferences, symposia etc this remained the case right up to the end of the 20th century.

However the “Times they are a changing”.

Unclassified Rocket Propulsion activity at Westcott (The former Rocket Propulsion Establishment and in its day one of the most secretive sites in the UK) is expanding and the government is pushing the Space sector as a major economic growth area of the UK economy. To celebrate the increase in activity at Westcott it has been decided to run an open Source conference covering some current topics in near term rocket propulsion.

The West Midlands Branch of the British Interplanetary Society is organising the daylong conference with the aim of showcasing current UK rocket research to BIS members, academia and interested members of the public. The main objective is to give those who are not actively engaged in the subject of rocket propulsion an update as to the current technology level in some areas of the subject and where this might lead us in respect of near-term future activities in space. In addition, there are many associated areas of technology that bear directly on the ability of current propulsion systems to provide better and more effective use of existing and planned propulsive capabilities (such as the properties and use of graphene, additive manufacturing, new polymers etc).

* For a brief history of Westcott, please click here.

Given that the audience is not necessarily cognisant with the latest developments in the field it is expected that a more generalized presentation be given. It is also recognised that presenters may wish to go further in that they might wish later to prepare a learned paper for consideration for publication in the British Interplanetary’s peer-reviewed Journal. However, this would be a secondary objective for this initiative.

If you/your organisation would like to present a paper at the conference, please e-mail 

Entry: Conference ticket prices have now been announced. They include Buffet Lunch, Tea and Coffee.  A bar will be available at lunch time for those wishing to purchase alcoholic drinks.

BIS Member £30.00
Non-member £40.00
Student £14.00


If you are attending the Westcott pensioners get together and would like to attend the conference, please contact the West Midlands branch Sec via

For further details be sure to check out our Facebook page

Be sociable; support the BIS!