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British Interplanetary Society

British Interplanetary Society

Overview
The British Interplanetary Society (BIS) founded in 1933 by Philip E. Cleator, is the oldest space advocacy
Space advocacy
Space advocacy can be described as the general position supporting, pleading or arguing for the idea or cause of space exploration and settlements...

 organisation in the world whose aim is exclusively to support and promote astronautics
Astronautics
Astronautics, and related astronautical engineering, is the theory and practice of navigation beyond the Earth's atmosphere. In other words, it is the science and technology of space flight....

 and space exploration
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

.

It is a non-profit organisation with headquarters in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and is financed by members' contributions. BIS publishes the academic journal Journal of the British Interplanetary Society
Journal of the British Interplanetary Society
The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society is a technical scientific journal, first published in 1934. JBIS is concerned with space science and space technology...

and the magazine Spaceflight
Spaceflight (magazine)
Spaceflight is the monthly magazine of the British Interplanetary Society . It was first published in 1956, a year before the launch of Sputnik 1, and has been reporting on space exploration topics ever since....

.

It is situated on South Lambeth Road (A203
A203 road
The A203 is a primary A road in South London. It runs from Brixton to Vauxhall connecting the A23 and A3 with Vauxhall Bridge, the Albert Embankment as well as the London Inner Ring Road for travel across the River Thames. Between Brixton and Stockwell tube station it is known as Stockwell Road...

) near Vauxhall station
Vauxhall station
Vauxhall station is a National Rail, London Underground and London Buses interchange station in central London. It is at the Vauxhall Cross road junction opposite the southern approach to Vauxhall Bridge over the River Thames in the London district of Vauxhall...

, and not far from the Secret Intelligence Service
Secret Intelligence Service
The Secret Intelligence Service is responsible for supplying the British Government with foreign intelligence. Alongside the internal Security Service , the Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence Intelligence , it operates under the formal direction of the Joint Intelligence...

 building.

The BIS was preceded by the American Interplanetary Society
American Rocket Society
The American Rocket Society began its existence on April 4, 1930, under the name of the American Interplanetary Society. It was founded by science fiction writers G. Edward Pendray, David Lasser, Laurence Manning and others. The members originally conducted their own rocket experiments in New York...

 (founded 1930), the German VfR
VfR
VfR is a German-language acronym that may appear in various contexts:*Verein für Raumschiffahrt, en:Society for Space Travel, a historical amateur rocket club in Germany...

, and Soviet rocket research groups, but unlike these it never became absorbed into a national industry.

When originally formed in January 1933, the BIS aimed not only to promote and raise the public profile of astronautics, but also to undertake practical experimentation into rocketry along similar lines to the organisations above.
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Encyclopedia
The British Interplanetary Society (BIS) founded in 1933 by Philip E. Cleator, is the oldest space advocacy
Space advocacy
Space advocacy can be described as the general position supporting, pleading or arguing for the idea or cause of space exploration and settlements...

 organisation in the world whose aim is exclusively to support and promote astronautics
Astronautics
Astronautics, and related astronautical engineering, is the theory and practice of navigation beyond the Earth's atmosphere. In other words, it is the science and technology of space flight....

 and space exploration
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

.

Structure


It is a non-profit organisation with headquarters in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and is financed by members' contributions. BIS publishes the academic journal Journal of the British Interplanetary Society
Journal of the British Interplanetary Society
The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society is a technical scientific journal, first published in 1934. JBIS is concerned with space science and space technology...

and the magazine Spaceflight
Spaceflight (magazine)
Spaceflight is the monthly magazine of the British Interplanetary Society . It was first published in 1956, a year before the launch of Sputnik 1, and has been reporting on space exploration topics ever since....

.

It is situated on South Lambeth Road (A203
A203 road
The A203 is a primary A road in South London. It runs from Brixton to Vauxhall connecting the A23 and A3 with Vauxhall Bridge, the Albert Embankment as well as the London Inner Ring Road for travel across the River Thames. Between Brixton and Stockwell tube station it is known as Stockwell Road...

) near Vauxhall station
Vauxhall station
Vauxhall station is a National Rail, London Underground and London Buses interchange station in central London. It is at the Vauxhall Cross road junction opposite the southern approach to Vauxhall Bridge over the River Thames in the London district of Vauxhall...

, and not far from the Secret Intelligence Service
Secret Intelligence Service
The Secret Intelligence Service is responsible for supplying the British Government with foreign intelligence. Alongside the internal Security Service , the Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence Intelligence , it operates under the formal direction of the Joint Intelligence...

 building.

History


The BIS was preceded by the American Interplanetary Society
American Rocket Society
The American Rocket Society began its existence on April 4, 1930, under the name of the American Interplanetary Society. It was founded by science fiction writers G. Edward Pendray, David Lasser, Laurence Manning and others. The members originally conducted their own rocket experiments in New York...

 (founded 1930), the German VfR
VfR
VfR is a German-language acronym that may appear in various contexts:*Verein für Raumschiffahrt, en:Society for Space Travel, a historical amateur rocket club in Germany...

, and Soviet rocket research groups, but unlike these it never became absorbed into a national industry.

Formation


When originally formed in January 1933, the BIS aimed not only to promote and raise the public profile of astronautics, but also to undertake practical experimentation into rocketry along similar lines to the organisations above. However early in 1936, the Society discovered that this ambition was thwarted by the Explosives Act of 1875, which prevented any private testing of liquid-fuel rockets in the United Kingdom.

Important proposals for design of space vehicles


In the late 1930s, the group devised a project of landing people on the moon
Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

 by a multistage rocket
Multistage rocket
A multistage rocket is a rocket that usestwo or more stages, each of which contains its own engines and propellant. A tandem or serial stage is mounted on top of another stage; a parallel stage is attached alongside another stage. The result is effectively two or more rockets stacked on top of or...

, each stage of which would have many narrow solid-fuel rockets. Their lander was gumdrop-shaped but otherwise quite like the Lunar Module. As it was considered that the cabin would have to rotate to provide artificial gravity by centrifugal force, the BIS is considered to have invented the first instrument for space travel
Human spaceflight
Human spaceflight is spaceflight with humans on the spacecraft. When a spacecraft is manned, it can be piloted directly, as opposed to machine or robotic space probes and remotely-controlled satellites....

 — a navigation
Navigation
Navigation is the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle from one place to another. It is also the term of art used for the specialized knowledge used by navigators to perform navigation tasks...

 mechanism which would cancel out the rotating view.

Nearest stars


In 1978, the Society published a starship
Starship
A starship or interstellar spacecraft is a theoretical spacecraft designed for traveling between the stars, as opposed to a vehicle designed for orbital spaceflight or interplanetary travel....

 study called Project Daedalus
Project Daedalus
Project Daedalus was a study conducted between 1973 and 1978 by the British Interplanetary Society to design a plausible unmanned interstellar spacecraft. Intended mainly as a scientific probe, the design criteria specified that the spacecraft had to use current or near-future technology and had to...

, which was a detailed feasibility study for a simple unmanned interstellar mission to Barnard's Star
Barnard's star
Barnard's Star, also known occasionally as Barnard's "Runaway" Star, is a very low-mass red dwarf star approximately six light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Ophiuchus . In 1916, the American astronomer E.E...

 using present-day technology and a reasonable extrapolation of near-future capabilities. Daedalus used a pellet driven nuclear-pulse fusion rocket
Fusion rocket
A fusion rocket is a theoretical design for a rocket driven by fusion power which could provide efficient and long-term acceleration in space without the need to carry a large fuel supply. The design relies on the development of fusion power technology beyond current capabilities, and the...

 to accelerate to 12 per cent of the speed of light
Speed of light
The speed of light in vacuum, usually denoted by c, is a physical constant important in many areas of physics. Its value is 299,792,458 metres per second, a figure that is exact since the length of the metre is defined from this constant and the international standard for time...

.

Mars


The latest in this series of far-reaching studies produced the Project Boreas
Project Boreas
Project Boreas was a study conducted between 2003 and 2006 by the British Interplanetary Society to design a station on the Planum Boreumat the Martian North Pole . The project was international, involving over 25 scientists and engineers, co-ordinated by Charles S. Cockell. Pole Station was...

 report, which designed a manned station for the Martian North Pole. The report was short-listed for the 2007 Sir Arthur Clarke Award
Sir Arthur Clarke Award
The Sir Arthur Clarke Award is a British award given in recognition of notable contributions to space exploration, particularly British achievements. It is owned by the Space Education Trust and is independent of and separate from . Founded in 2005, the awards are an annual event. They take place...

s in the category of Best Written Presentation.

Awards given by the society


The science writer Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke
Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, famous for his short stories and novels, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World. For many years, Robert A. Heinlein,...

 was a well-known former Chairman of the British Interplanetary Society. The society was presented with the first Special Award, from the 2005 Sir Arthur Clarke Award
Sir Arthur Clarke Award
The Sir Arthur Clarke Award is a British award given in recognition of notable contributions to space exploration, particularly British achievements. It is owned by the Space Education Trust and is independent of and separate from . Founded in 2005, the awards are an annual event. They take place...

s. This was a gift of Sir Arthur's choice, independent of the judging panel. In 2008, the Society's magazine, Spaceflight, edited by Clive Simpson, was the winner of the award for Best Space Reporting.

Charles Chilton
Charles Chilton
Charles Chilton MBE is a BBC radio presenter, a writer and a producer. Born in Bloomsbury in London, England, he never knew his father - who was killed during World War I - and when he was six his mother died as a result of having a botched abortion, so he was raised by his grandmother. He was...

 joined the society before writing and producing the popular science-fiction radio trilogy Journey Into Space
Journey Into Space
Journey Into Space is a BBC Radio science fiction programme, written by BBC producer Charles Chilton. It was the last radio programme in the UK to attract a bigger evening audience than television...

.

See also

  • Archibald Low
    Archibald Low
    Archibald Montgomery Low was an English consulting engineer, research physicist and inventor, and author of more than 40 books....

    , one of the founder members of the BIS, and its President from 1936-1951.
  • British space programme
    British space programme
    The British space programme is a plan by the UK government and other interested bodies to promote British participation in the international market for satellite launches, satellite construction and other space endeavours. Significantly, however, it has never been government policy to create a...

  • National Space Centre
    National Space Centre
    The National Space Centre is one of the United Kingdom's leading visitor attractions that is devoted to space science and astronomy. It is located in the city of Leicester, England, next to the River Soar on the A6.-History:...

  • Project Daedalus
    Project Daedalus
    Project Daedalus was a study conducted between 1973 and 1978 by the British Interplanetary Society to design a plausible unmanned interstellar spacecraft. Intended mainly as a scientific probe, the design criteria specified that the spacecraft had to use current or near-future technology and had to...


Video clips

  • Brits Who Made The Modern World on Five - the cancelled (but feasible) Black Arrow
    Black Arrow
    Black Arrow, officially capitalised BLACK ARROW, was a British satellite carrier rocket. Developed during the 1960s, it was used for four launches between 1969 and 1971...

    British space satellite launch vehicle