LIVESTREAM: Skylark – Britain’s First Space Rocket

Skylark – Britain’s First Space Rocket” by Robin Brand

Thursday 25 June 2020 between 13:00 and 14:00 BST, online via Microsoft Teams

Part of the “One O’clock Space Webinar” series organised by University College London

About the subject

In November 1957, the Skylark sounding rocket was the first British rocket to reach space, and became the basis of Britain’s earliest space programme. Hundreds were fired, launching into space thousands of scientific instruments. Many of these carried out pioneering astronomical observations in the X-ray and UV spectrum, regions previously unavailable to British scientists.

This online lunchtime presentation tells the story of that space rocket, from its origins in the 1950s, until its last launch in 2005. It is based on research for Robin Brand’s book of a similar name (the first ever written on the full story of the Skylark), which was published in December 2014, and is a shortened version of the evening lecture given at the BIS in September 2015. (BIS members can see the recording by visiting and scrolling to the end of the page.)

About the speaker

Robin Brand joined the BIS in 2009 (partly so he could use the library at no extra charge!), and became a Fellow in 2017. He is currently Chair of the Technical Committee, and Project leader of “The SLV (Small launch Vehicle) Project”.

Although an electronic engineer by profession, he has always been interested in space matters, having graduated from the ‘Eagle’ comic and ‘Dan Dare’ (in colour) via ‘The Sky at Night’ on television (in black and white) to membership of the British Interplanetary Society (in 3D!).

His early interest was enhanced when science fiction started coming true, with the advent of the first orbiting Earth satellites. Those were the days of great public interest, when the times the satellites could be seen passing overhead were published in the daily newspapers, and their data transmissions could be heard on the radio.


Skylark launch – Woomera, Australia

Be sociable; support the BIS!