Current Council Details

The British Interplanetary Society Council consists of 12 Councillors, all of whom are Fellows of at least 3 years standing of the British Interplanetary Society, who are elected by the Fellowship in an open ballot at the AGM. Each BIS Councillor serves a 3 year term, after which they must be re-elected. The President can also take special action at any time to bring others onto Council as and when their specialist expertise will assist Council in pursuing its duties. With a view on continuity, the immediate Past-President is also invited to attend meetings.

President: Gerry Webb
Joined the Society in 1958 and elected to Fellow in 1969. Gerry has been the General Director of Commercial Space Technologies Ltd (CST) since its foundation in 1983. Before this he worked for the British Government space research programme, beginning from 1960, at the Radio Research Laboratory (Slough). This laboratory became the Appleton Laboratory and ultimately merged with the Rutherford Laboratory to become (RAL).Gerry graduated in Physics and completed postgraduate work in Space Science (University College London). All of his working life has been in the space field, beginning with the radio tracking of Sputnik 3 and other early Soviet satellites in order to measure ionospheric parameters. After a ten year period of work between 1968 and 1978 with sounding rockets investigating the Earth’s geomagnetic field from the arctic launch ranges of Andoya and Kiruna he transferred to the management team procuring sounding rockets for the British space research community.

Past-President: Mark Hempsell
Joined the Society in 1971 and elected to Fellow in 1984. He is a Past President (1997-2000 & 2015-2018) and a past Editor of the Journal. He serves on the Finance and General Purposes Committee, Technical Committee and the Constitution Committee. His career in astronautics started at British Aerospace Space and Communications Division working as a systems engineer on communications satellites and infrastructure systems. In 1991 he joined the University of Bristol and became the Senior Lecturer in Astronautics. In 2008 He has launched his own company, Hempsell Astronautics Ltd He is particularly keen to keep the balance between the academic and the popularising roles of the Society to ensure they continue to invigorate each other.

Past-President: Alistair Scott
Joining Hawker Siddeley Aviation as an Undergraduate Apprentice at Hatfield in 1967, Alistair gained a BSc (Aero Eng) from Bristol University in 1972. He worked on Trident, Airbus A300B, HS125, and HS146 aircraft before moving up to British Aerospace Dynamics in Stevenage in 1978. In 1984 he moved over to British Aerospace Space Systems as Marketing Manager, Communications Satellites, operating in the Middle East, Far East and Australasia. He became PR Manager for Matra Marconi Space (UK) in 1995 and was appointed Director of Communications (UK) for Astrium on its formation in May 2000. He retired from EADS Astrium as Adviser(UK), Communications & PR for EADS Astrium, based in Stevenage, UK, November 2011. He joined the Society in 1995, became a Fellow in 2001 and was elected to Council in September 2007 and served as President of the Society from September 2012 to July 2015. He is now Chairman of the Events Committee and Media Committee and serves on the Education Committee and Finance and General Purposes Committee. His other interests include the Territorial Army, military vehicles, vintage cars, sailing and cartooning. He is also a Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.“Living up to its motto, ‘From Imagination to Reality’, the British Interplanetary Society has always been ‘ahead of the game’ in proposing and predicting man’s use and exploration of space. In order to retain this position and maintain the respect of its peers across the world as many other nations join the ‘space race’, I consider it important that the Society is kept fully informed of current and proposed activities both in industry and academia. I believe that, as a Past President I can help to maintain this firm base from which the Society can continue to promote the further use and exploration of space.”
Vice President: Colin PhilpColin-Philp
Colin is a professional photographer specialising in landscape and architecture, working internationally. He established his business in 1993. Since 1999 he has also worked in an educational role as a business adviser with the Young Enterprise organisation, helping 6th form students set up businesses. Colin has been a space enthusiast from an early age, from the time of Apollo 8, his imagination captured by the moon landings. He joined the Society in 1983 and was elected a Fellow in 1987. Colin is chair of the BIS Marketing Committee, serves on the Society’s Event and Library Committees and is a corresponding member of the Media Committee.
Vice President: Rod WoodcockRod-Woodcock
Joined the Society in 1971 and was elected to Fellow in 1984. He also serves on the History committee. Apprenticed in 1960 at AVRO for a Aeronautical engineering apprenticeship. Worked on the AVRO Vulcan, Blue Steel and HS Nimrod, specializing in flying controls and hydraulics. Left in 1968 to start his own company, which he started from nothing and developed it into a successful business before selling it in 2008.Served as a local borough councillor for 8 years, serving on several committees including budget, finance and town planning.Interests golf, walking, theatre and looking after his large garden.Expectations. Having now retired he has the time and dedication to help the Society. He feels living in Cheshire will help balance the spread of council members throughout the country and help forge more interest in membership outside the London area.He has gained a vast knowledge of every aspect of business having been on numerous training courses over the years which he hopes will help in the Society forge a new secure future.

Council Members:

Dave ShaylerDave Shayler
During the mid 1970’s, Ken Gatland encouraged me to join the BIS, which I did in 1976, eventually rising to Fellow by 1984. Ken was very supportive in my early efforts in publishing articles with the first appearing in Spaceflight in 1977. This early encouragement from the BIS helped develop my passion for documenting spaceflight history. Since then I have enthusiastically supported BIS  activities by working on the Publications, Library, Membership and Education Committees in  addition to chairing the Soviet/Chinese Technical Forum a number of times.Drawing up this experience within the BIS over many years, together with that of my professional skills in management, publishing and outreach I will strive to broaden and promote the aims and resources of the BIS to a wider audience. To help achieve this, developing the programme of Forum events, by introducing new topics and follow on coverage, and promoting the depth of on-site research material available in the Library could encourage new members to take an increasingly active role within the Society while, at the same time utilise the valuable talents of existing members.
Richard Osborne
Joined the Society in 1983, and elected to Fellow in 1992.He has a Bachelors degree in Physics, a Masters Degree in Remote Sensing (specialising in Martian surface analysis), is a Chartered Physicist, a Chartered Scientist, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and has served on the UK Rocketry Association’s Council for 10 years.Currently working as a consultant systems architect, as well as with Reaction Engines Limited on the STERN hydrogen fuelled air breathing rocket engine. Richard has also worked on a number of space industry projects ranging from payloads to the Mir space station to Mars missions, specialising more recently in systems engineering in addition to rocket propulsion. Involved in a number of professional and amateur rocketry ventures in the past, as well as potential UK X-Prize contenders which didn’t see the light of day. Also extensively involved with hybrid rocket propulsion systems for the last 15 years.He is enthusiastic to expand the reach of the Society, and to see a stronger participation from the younger members, to encourage support for potential members in the undergraduate and recent graduate communities and to use technology as an enabler for the Society. He is a very keen advocate of manned spaceflight and launch vehicle technology.
Dr Robert Charles Parkinson MBE
Joined the Society in 1956 and elected to Fellow in 1967.He served on the Council from 1968 -1971, 1975-1978 and 1982 to 1985. He was BIS President from 2009 – 2012. He gained his doctorate in 1965 from the University of Nottingham. He has worked for the Rocket Propulsion Establishment, PERME, British Aerospace, Matra Marconi and Astrium. He has had papers published in Spaceflight and JBIS. He also worked on the Society’s Project Daedalus and Project Boreas.He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics and was awarded the MBE in the 2002 New Years Honours List.He would like to encourage the BIS to continue being an advocate for enthusiastic development of future developments in astronautics.
Stuart-Eves-Coucil-PictureDr Stuart Eves
Joined the Society in 2004 and was elected to Fellow in 2011. I have been serving the society as Chair of its Education and Outreach Committee for some time, and would seek to represent that aspect of the society’s work on the Council. I am also a corresponding member of the Events Committee and the Technical Committee, and in the former capacity have contributed to the Society’s programme of talks and events over the past few years, including acting as quizmaster for the Patrick’s Picnic events.I previously chaired the Security and Defence Committee of UKspace, the trade association, and the Space Information Exchange, a joint Govt/Industry forum concerned with space system resilience, and hence can provide linkages to these organisations for the Society.I have been a Fellow of the RAS for 25 years, and have a number of close friends in the space science community, who have kindly given talks at the Society at my invitation.More recently, I have brought the Re-Inventing Space Conference to the Society, which allows it to raise its profile by hosting a major international space conference annually.
Iain-Meek-Council-PictureIain Meek
Joined the Society in 2006 and was elected to Fellow in 2011. As BIS is a member organisation, Iain Meek has done his best to introduce new members, encourage attendance at lectures, and raise the profile of BIS through helping to administer the BIS Facebook group page as well as organising Yuri’s night celebrations in the past. He would aim to continue to encourage member participation and communication as he sees the real strength of BIS being its members.He has always taken a strong interest in financial probity and in open & transparent management in his previous voluntary work and would continue to do so if elected to Council. Iain would offer his skills and experience to Council from his varied voluntary activities over the last 25 years for charities, voluntary organisations, and businesses. An experienced director, having represented small business at national level in an internationally renowned professional institute- and contributed effectively in financial and communications fields. A successful chairman of meetings. A proactive and diligent committee member. in City membership organisations, charities and social housing bodies. Able to grasp the overview. An innovative, enthusiastic, conscientious trustee, director, manager, and designer. A co-operative team member and successful team leader, able to establish good working relationships with colleagues, clients, consultants and contractors.Iain has been a Fellow since 2011 and is really an architect and property developer who discovered his interest in outer space through attending the BIS meeting on British Spaceplanes on 2007- although they turned out to be only plans not reality. He has advised informally on the headquarters building since 2010 and has served on the Media committee at BIS since 2014. Based in London, Iain is able to easily attend HQ meetings on a regular basis.He currently chairs a team of volunteers looking into lowest-cost orbital human spaceflight- a thankless task but a huge challenge for an architect interested in dealing with extreme environments.He is also currently a committee member with the Worshipful Company of Constructors, Membership committee and Court Assistant; and with the City Livery Club, Membership and Development committee and reciprocals officer since 2010. As such, he has time to spare for further voluntary work.He was a National Councillor of Royal Institute of British Architects between 2000-03 and sat on Finance; Communications; Small Practice committees; & Premises subcommittees. More recently Iain was Vice-chair of Camden Civic Society in 2014. He was also Chair of Camden Society of Architects in 1999 and previously contributed as a local networking co-ordinator and annual directory co-ordinator. He has gained experience as a committee member of a number of charities and other organisations including Radcliffe Housing Society Ltd, Management committee in Kent; the Architects Benevolent Society Publicity Group, Publicity committee; the Architects’ Channel, a video training company, editorial board; Housing Services Agency for London homeless.He has also started a number of neighbourhood organisations around his home turf. His leisure activities include riding an ancient motorcycle in fine weather, mending it frequently, socialising and generally larking about. He may learn to fly small aircraft at some point in the near future- small spacecraft in a more distant future?Iain has a Diploma in Architecture from Edinburgh University and has recently scored 86% in The Massachusetts Institute of Technology through edX online course 16.00x: Introduction to Aerospace Engineering: Astronautics and Human Spaceflight.
Dr Chris WelchChris-Welch
Joined the Society in 1979 and was elected a Fellow in 1984. Chris is Director of Masters Programs at the International Space University (ISU) in Strasbourg, France. He has BSc in Physics, an MSc in space physics and a PhD in spacecraft engineering. His interests include space propulsion, space exploration and microgravity physics. He is a Chartered Physicist and Member of the Institute of Physics, the Institute of Engineering and Technology  an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.For the BIS, Chris is a member of the Space Education and Outreach Committee and the Events Committee and has organized the annual UK selection for the student competition at International Astronautical Congress for a number of years. He is a subject editor JBIS.In 1989, Chris was one of the final 25 candidates to fly to the Mir space station on the UK-USSR Juno mission, which continues to fuel his passion for both human spaceflight and space education and outreach. He is a current and former chair of International Astronautical Federation Space and Education and Outreach Committee and is also on the board and Executive Committee of the World Space Week Association, Deputy Chair of the Advisory Council of the Initiative for Interstellar Studies and a member of the Advisory Board of the Space Generation Advisory Council.As a former chair of UKSEDS, Chris believes that connecting with students and young professionals is vital in order for the Society to grow and develop. In parallel, the Society must continue its work towards achieving a significantly higher profile with the general public to publicise both space and itself and must also link and work with other space-related organisations and groups.
Fabrizio Bernardini
Fabrizio joined the Society in the early 1990’s and soon became a Fellow. He defines himself as an “Apollo child” and like many of his peers, the events of 1969 determined his permanent interest in space and also science and technology. After graduating as an electronics engineer from the University Sapienza of Rome (with a very mixed curriculum), he started working as a freelance consultant in many different kind of projects and applications, but with a main interest in aviation and space. During one of his consultancies he was part of the design team of an instrument now orbiting Mars, and of which (as a side activity) he is now responsible for operations while the rest of his time is devoted to other jobs in other programmes and science-related tasks.
Space has been a leitmotif of both his career and personal life. He started collecting documentation on the Apollo programme (and others) with the aim of obtaining a good technical baseline. He managed the first amateur radio communications with an Italian astronaut. He volunteers for the Virtual Apollo Guidance Computer project, helps in many varied space-related events, collaborates with a number of associations, amongst other projects.
In 2012, Fabrizio convinced the Society’s President at the time, Alistair Scott, of the importance of setting up a BIS international branch and hence set up BIS-Italia, one of the fastest growing BIS communities.
Together with his branch members, he created innovative ways to educate the public about space and in a short time he had established a continuous presence at major events, in cooperation with the European Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency and the Italian Institute for Astrophysics. He actively encourages the increased involvement of professionals in the Society and continually advocates the modern role of the Society: that of an international organisation to link professionals and help young enthusiasts find a role in the space sector. For these reasons, he participates in the Events Committee and the Marketing Committee, and to future projects to celebrate Apollo 50th anniversary.
He considers being a member of the Society a privilege and he would like to help raise the bar that defines what other members expect the Society to be. The space sector is a growth industry, and the human race is still at the very beginning of human expansion in this new frontier. The Society is a unique organisation with a rice heritage that needs to lead professionals and enthusiasts to keep building –  in all contexts – bridges from imagination to reality.
Gill-Norman-CouncilExecutive Secretary: Gill Norman
Gill Norman became a member of the Society in 2012 and started volunteering for them in 2015. With a background in Finance and Organisational Development and a healthy passion for all things space related, she couldn’t resist the chance to apply for the Executive Secretary role when Suszann Parry announced her retirement. Gill took over the role in April 2016 and is looking forward to helping the Society evolve over the next few years.

The BIS Council meets at least six times a year, sometimes more often and especially whenever major events require broad discussion and approval.

Senior Officers

The term of office for the President lasts 3 years and is elected from amongst existing members of Council at the last Council meeting prior to the AGM. Succession occurs immediately on the closure of the appropriate AGM. In the case of the President, to ensure smooth continuity, the election is effectively held 12 months ahead of the time of succession, the successful candidate becoming ‘President-Elect’ for the year before holding office. The President-Elect can, like the President, sit in on any Committee meeting.

The term of office for both Vice-Presidents is 1 year and they are elected from amongst existing members of Council at the meeting after the AGM. There is no limit to the number of terms any one person can serve as Vice-President. The outgoing President must wait 3 years before he can be nominated for Presidency again.

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