POSTPONED: 40th Sino-Russian Technical Forum

Celebrating 40 years 1980-2020


Unfortunately we have had to defer this event until later in the year.



Four decades ago, on the evening of Friday 4 January 1980, the inaugural BIS Technical Forum was held in the Golovine Conference Room at the Societies Headquarters in London. The forum was stated in the meeting notice as “to enable small technical groups to discuss subjects of particular interest at a suitably high level.”

The evening programme was chaired by Anthony Kenden, who championed the idea of holding informal technical gatherings at the Society. These five pioneering presentations were:

  • Soyuz 1-9: A Reappraisal by Ralph F. Gibbons
  • Trends in the Soviet Photoreconnaissance Satellite Programme by Nicholas L. Johnson
  • The Significance of Salyut 6 by Michael J. Richardson 
  • Visual Observations of Russian Spacecraft by David G. Hawkins, and
  • The Type-G Launch Vehicle – Phoenix or Dinosaur? by Phillip Clark

Anthony had envisaged a variety of topics to be covered in these Forums, but right from the start the popularity of discussing the latest trends in the Soviet (now Russian) programme enthralled the audience and has remained the regular theme for the next 40 years. More recent Forums have regularly included papers on space activities in China, presentations on the Indian and other elusive space programmes. Notable guests who have spoken at past Forums have included Helen Sharman, several Russian cosmonauts and South African Space Flight Participant Mark Shuttleworth.

This year the Society is hosting the 40th anniversary meeting at its Headquarters building in London across the week-end of June 5-7.


2020 Programme Coordinator David J. Shayler, FBIS

As the programme develops other papers may be added to the agenda.

Please Note: Participants and programme features are subject to change at short notice.

Provisionally the following speakers will be in attendance



Friday evening 5 June

The first BIS Soviet Technical Forum was held on 4 January 1980 and in recognition that achievement this year’s programme will begin with a special presentation by Phil Clark who spoke at that very first meeting:


Phil Clark

BIS Sino-Russian Technical Forum
40th anniversary review







Phil Clark

Zenit Part 1 (Saturday 6 June)
Zenit Part 2 (Sunday 7 June)


Brian Harvey

Following the Yuanwang fleet


Bart Hendrickx

Baikonur impressions: New insights into the Almaz project


Andrew Knight

Salyut 6: The 1st 6 months


Phil Mills

Space sights & sites in Moscow


David Shayler

Chronicling Space History in the BIS

Russia’s Cosmonauts on the International Space Station


Gurbir Singh

Highs and Lows of India’s Moon Missions

A Personal History of the BIS Liverpool – 1933 – 1937. Leslie Johnson  [A special paper on BIS History for the 40th anniversary of Forum]


Andrew Thomas

The Space Programmes of the United Arab Emirates

The Chinese satellite of 1960 that never was: From the archives of the CIA, the Soviet Union and the British Foreign Office


Bert Vis

Chinese sea survival training






Question & Answer Sessions

An additional selection of three 15-minute presentations under the new 1-hour TROIKA banner




  • Friday evening gathering
  • Morning & afternoon tea/coffee breaks
  • Lunch time buffet
  • Saturday night meal (TBD)


And the opportunity to

  • View films
  • Visit the Society Library
  • Test your cosmonaut skills on a Soyuz docking simulator
  • Conduct your own networking
  • Have a great time


Provisional dates for the 41st Sino-Russian Technical Forum are 5 & 6 June 2021. The theme for next year is:

From Salyut to Tiangong: 50 years of Sino-Russian Space Stations

New speakers are always welcomed and encouraged


Be sociable; support the BIS!