Episode 66: Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre

November 21st 2013 was the 50th anniversary of a rocket launched from India in to space. The launch itself was an all Indian affair but with lots of international support. The rocket was American, carried a French Sodium Vapour payload with assisted by a computer and a helicopter from the Soviet Union. From this meagre […]

Episode 65: ISRO – The early years

The Indian Space Research Organisation formally came in to being in 1972. By then, India had been developing its space program for almost a decade. The first launch to space from Indian soil was a two stage Nike-Apache rocket supplied by USA with a  sodium  payload from France. The rocket delivered a vertical trail of sodium […]

Episode 61: Reg Turnill on Wernher von Braun

Like so many in the “space community” I was saddened to hear of the passing of Reg Turnill. He was  the BBC’s aerospace correspondent but is  best known  for covering the American Space program  throughout the 60s and 70s that he documents so well in his book Moonlandings: An eye witness account. He was the […]

Episode 58: Astronauts Joe Engle and Ron Garan

The first  interview in this episode is with astronaut Joe Engle was recorded during his visit to the UK in 2008.   Joe Engle was at the front of the queue  to go to the Moon when NASA cut its Apollo program. His place was taken by the geologist Harrison Schmitt on Apollo 17 – the last manned […]

Episode 55: 4 August 2012: Mars Curiosity Rover

Since the mid 1970s six spacecraft (Viking 1 & 2, Sojourner, Opportunity, Spirit and Phoenix)  have successfully landed on the surface of Mars. In probably the most audacious, breathtaking and risky space missions, in less than two days, another  Mars Curiosity Rover will arrive on Mars. Using a technique never used before, NASA has described […]

Episode 50: 26th March 2012: Manchester first Rocket Scientists

Robert Goddard in America , Sergei Korolev in the Soviet Union and Herman Oberth in Germany are three names credit with the development of rocket propulsion during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Each led a very small group with more dedication then resources working on a shoestring budget usually in their own time after work. Their […]

BIS Northern Meeting York 19th May 2012

A British Interplanetary Society  meeting with a difference. The venue is in the North of England – the historic city of York. You don’t have to be a BIS member – all with an interest in spaceflight are welcome. A day long event with five speakers on subjects that include Lunar dust, Soviet & German […]

Falling to Earth – Book Review

“Falling to Earth”‘ is Al Worden’s autobiography, written with the British but USA based space historian Francis French. To mark the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 15, Worden has published the story of his mission as Apollo 15’s command module pilot (CMP) and its immediate aftermath of what came to be known as the “covers incident”, as the centre piece. With a foreword by Dick Gordon, an epilogue by Tom Stafford and further praise on the back cover from Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and John Glen, Worden has finally received the personal redemption from those that he considers matter most – fellow astronauts.

The Final Shuttle Flight and the Shuttle landing Facility – a personal memory

I had watched the channel 4 documentary on Saturday evening and inevitably ended up comparing it to the one on BBC last night. The ad breaks aside, the BBC’s version came out on top because of the focus on people, perhaps because of Kevin Fong’s connection to the shuttle program. The personal emotional contributions from […]

Episode 45: 4th July 2011: Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot Al Worden

Probably the most scientifically demanding Apollo mission, Apollo 15 was launched on 26th July 1971 on a two week mission. Al Worden in the command module orbited the Moon for 75 orbits whilst Dave Scott and James Irwin explored the south eastern edge of Mare Imbrium on the Moon’s surface.  Apollo 15 launched with the […]