LIVESTREAM: “India’s Forgotten Rocket Pioneer”

The West Midlands branch of the British Interplanetary Society continues its programme of space lectures via Zoom.

“India’s Forgotten Rocket Pioneer” by Gurbir Singh

Saturday 18 July 2020 between 2pm and 3.15pm, via Zoom

Gurbir Singh will speak about his new book – India’s Forgotten Rocket Pioneer. It is an account of the work and life of Stephen H Smith who was probably the BIS’s first member from India.Stephen H Smith was testing solid-fuel rockets in Calcutta during the 1930s and 1940s. He joined the BIS in late 1934 and corresponded with BIS Vice President Leslie Johnson in Liverpool. Recent research in archives in Switzerland, London, Liverpool and the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC reveals the for the first time the global reach of Smith’s rocket experiments.

Gurbir Singh

Gurbir Singh is a UK based space writer. He studied science and computing and holds a science and an arts degree. Once keen on aviation, he has a private pilot’s licence for the UK, USA and Australia. He was one of 13,000 unsuccessful applicants responding to the 1989 advert in the UK “Astronaut wanted. No experience necessary” to become the first British astronaut, for which Helen Sharman was eventually selected and flew on the Soviet space station MIR in 1991. He is also the publisher of, a not-for-profit astronomy podcast established in 2008.His most recent book, India’s Forgotten Rocket Pioneer, was published in April 2020. The book traces the life and work of Stephen Smith who was experimenting with solid-fuel rockets in Calcutta during the 1930s and 1940s.


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