BIS Newsletter: April 2018

Welcome to the April Newsletter
Outstanding Events
As Chair of the Events Committee, with responsibility for filling our events schedule I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss our activities and ask for your input and support.

Alistair Scott (click to e-mail)

I believe the BIS has a lot to offer its members and the public in general. Our events play an important role in entertaining and educating our members and, I hope, attracting new members.  They provide ideal networking opportunities and promote the BIS and its extensive capabilities and facilities:  our historic archives, our comprehensive Space library, our wide-ranging technical projects and our dedicated Space publications.

We had an extremely busy programme last year with 11 evening lectures in London on a wide variety of topics including Liz Tasker’s ‘Dangerous Worlds’ and Audiences with Apollo 15 Astronaut Al Worden and well-known actor Brian Blessed.  We ran 8 one or two-day symposia such as ‘Future Histories’, the China/Russia Technical Forum, ‘Space Elevators’ and the ‘Fermi Paradox’.  We organised or attended 11 Outreach/Education events like ‘Space Day’ at Hockerill College, the BSA’s Solar System Run at the Olympic Park and our ‘Introduction to Rocket Science’ at the Royal Institution. There were 7 UK Regional and 2 International events from the Westcott Reunion and ‘Visions of Space’ at the Wells & Mendip Museum to the Cosford Air Show and the ESRIN Open Days run by our BIS Italia team in Rome.  We exhibited at 8 conferences, including the European Astrofest, the UKSEDS Conference, the UK Space Conference and our own Reinventing Space Conference in Glasgow.  Among the most popular events for our members in 2017 were the visits to RAF Cosford in March, RAF Spadeadam in June and Herstmonceux for the AGM in July.  So our staff and a small band of volunteers were run off their feet for most of the year.

2018 is turning out to be even busier.  Now, only 3 months in, we’ve already had 3 evening lectures, ‘Ad Astra’ by Dallas Campbell, ‘Where are the Aliens?’ by Brad Gibson and ‘Space Traffic Control’ by Stuart Eves, and one symposium, Mars in the Age of New Launchers.   Three inches of snow may have disrupted travel plans for some, but the show went on.  Our regional branches have been active too, particularly our new BIS-Scotland branch, which kicked off with ‘Emerging Space Technologies ‘ by Prof Colin McInnes and ‘Royal Observatory Space Experiments’ by John Davies and Alistair Glasse.  Our West Midlands Branch has just run its ‘Spring Talks’ and our BIS-Italia Team has again supported the ESRIN Open Days in Rome.  We’ve already participated in 4 other Outreach events, a visit by UCL Arts & Science Students, Speed Networking at a Space Studio School, an Employability Day at Islington College and Space Day at Hockerill.  We exhibited at 2 UK Conferences, the European Astrofest in Kensington and the National Student Space Conference at Surrey University.  Our Soyuz/ISS Docking Simulator, made by our BIS-Italia team, once again proved to be the main attraction.

The year continues with at least one evening lecture in London each month, including the UK Space Agency’s Libby Jackson in April, Robin Brand on the ‘Nanosat Launch Vehicle’ and Chris Riley on ‘Neil Armstrong’ in May and Xu Teo on ‘Earth-i’ in June.  Then, after a short summer break, I’m hoping to get a talk on the ExoMars Rover in September and later in the month we are trying to arrange a visit by Don Eyles, one of the key players in the Apollo Guidance Computer Software development team at MIT, to kick-off our Apollo 50th Anniversary celebrations.  To continue the Apollo theme, in October we have pilot Wally Funk, the subject of Sue Nelson’s book and one of the first female astronaut candidates, coming over from the USA.  Finally in November Natalie Starkey is back again to tell us all about her book ‘Catching Stardust’.  Dates and further information should be in Spaceflight soon and in more detail on the website.  If you can’t get to any of the lectures I hope you can enjoy the videos later in the Members-Only section of the website. 

On top of this, we have a full programme of symposia, conferences, outreach events and visits.   The most significant dates for your diary are the West Midlands Branch’s Open Conference on Rocket Propulsion at Westcott on Saturday 14 April, the China/Russia Technical Forum at BIS HQ on Saturday/Sunday 2/3 June, the Future Transport Conference at the International Business Show in Liverpool on Tuesday 19 June,  Art Night with the Hayward Gallery at the BIS on Saturday 7 July, the Moon or Mars Debate at the Royal Institution on either the 14, 17 or 18 July, The BIS AGM at Gunpowder Mills Waltham Abbey on Saturday 28 July, New Scientist Live at ExCel on 19-23 September, the International Astronautics Congress in Bremen on 1-5 October and finally, our Reinventing Space Conference at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London on 30 October to 1 November.  We plan to hold the Sir Arthur Clarke Awards at the RISpace Dinner on the 1 November, so I’ll be asking you all for your nominations in the next couple of weeks.

There should be something for everyone, but if there isn’t anything for you and you think there should be, please let me know and we’ll do what we can to put it right.  After all, this is your Society and we need your ideas as a knowledgeable audience and as potential contributors.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Alistair Scott
Chair, Events Committee

Be sociable; support the BIS!