£52.19 – £104.94

An Introduction to Rocket Science

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The Royal Institution

21 Albemarle Street



United Kingdom

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The British Interplanetary Society is organising a one-day introduction to rocket science which assumes absolutely no knowledge of physics, space science or astronauts.

A series of noted presenters will give talks covering the basics of astronautics starting from “Why can’t we simply fly an aeroplane to space?” through to GPS, LEO and even the chances of meeting E.T.

NASA astronaut Cady Coleman will also be presenting, telling us what it's like to fly to space.

At the conclusion of the day, the British Interplanetary Society will give out a certificate for attendees, signed by its President.

An Introduction To Rocket Science will take place in the Faraday Theatre of the Royal Institution, Albemarle St, London W1S 4BS on Saturday 6 May between 9.30am and 6.30pm. Doors open at 8.30am.



08:30 Doors open and registration. There is a small exhibition outside of the Faraday Theatre which can be visited until the start of the event.

09:30 Introduction
Gather together in the Faraday Theatre for an introduction to the day.

Nigel Bannister09:45 Why can’t we simply fly to space in a plane?
Dr Nigel Bannister of the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Leicester will explain all this with the help of isopropyl alcohol!


10:25 How to build a spacecraft
Building satellites, propulsion and power – a “Haynes manual”. Shaun Kenyon, Chief Engineer at Sen Corporation will explain all.

11:00 Coffee break
Tea, coffee and breakfast will be available – you can visit our exhibition while you take a break.

Matthew Stuttard

11:30 So what have satellites done for us?
Satnav, satcom, weather forecasts and whales in the cloud. Matthew Stuttard, the Head of Advanced Space Projects at Airbus, Stevenage takes the helm.

Olesya Myakonkaya

12:00 To The Moon and Back
Dr Olesya Myakonkaya, Senior Innovation Scientist will talk about the SpaceX and other projects to send people to the Moon and back.

Andrew Cawthorne12:10 Observing our planet from above
EO, LEO, GEO. There are lots of acronyms to do with space. Earth Observation – EO; the first of these acronyms – enables us to monitor global warming, see land use changes such as urbanisation and more. Andrew Cawthorne, Head of Earth Observation at Surrey Satellite Technology Limited will explain EO (LEO and GEO too!).


12:40 Astronauts or robots?
Dr Stuart Eves and Dr Chris Welch fight it out to persuade the audience whether astronauts or robotic missions are the future.


13:10 Lunch will be available for purchase from the Royal Institution catering team. The exhibition will be open once more.

Stuart Eves

14:00 The higher or lower quiz
As the lunch break ends, a fun introduction to the afternoon talks, which begin again at 14.10. Hosted by Dr Stuart Eves, Lead Mission Concepts Engineer at Surrey Satellite Technology Limited.

Chris Welch

14:10 Beyond Earth orbit
Designing better rockets and using new technology help us explore new worlds. Professor Chris Welch, Head of Astronautics and Space Engineering at the International Space University, Strasbourg will look further into the Solar System.

Abbie Hutty14:40 How to go to Mars
Abbie Hutty, Spacecraft Structures Engineer on the ExoMars Rover Vehicle Team at Airbus, Stevenage will talk about building a rover to explore the Red Planet.

Don Pollacco

15:10 E.T. Phone Home!
Hello? Hello? Is there anybody out there? The Drake equation, life, methane, alien mega-structures and the Goldilocks zone are explained by Dr Don Pollacco of the Department of Physics, University of Warwick.

Cady Coleman15:40 What’s it like living in space?
NASA astronaut Cady Coleman will give an illustrated talk about life aboard the International Space Station.

16:15 Break
Tea, coffee and snacks can be found in the exhibition area where you can visit the stands.

John Zarnecki

16:45 Space exploration
A guide on where we’ve got to so far and where we are going next. Dr John Zarnecki, President of the Royal Astronomical Society will take us on a tour of the galaxy.

17:15 Finding new Earths
Olesya Myakonkaya introduce a short video about the exoplanets found 40 light years away.

Chris Bridges

17:20 What’s next?
Nearly fifty years ago now, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the Moon. Are we on our way to Mars now or even further? Or will robotic missions take us further to other solar systems? Dr Chris Bridges, Lecturer in On-Board Data Handling at the University of Surrey takes us on a tour.

Jay Tate

17:50 We’re doomed! Or are we?
At any moment, Earth could be hit by an asteroid or comet which would wipe us out as happened to the dinosaurs. But Jay Tate, Director of The Spaceguard Centre is here to tell us if we might be safe after all.

BIS-Logo-Arthurs18:30 Attendance certificates
After the event, you can collect your attendance certificate – ideal for displaying on your wall and signed by the BIS President.

This event welcomes adults, students and children aged 8 and above. Due to the nature of some of the talks – with noisy demonstrations – the event is not suitable for very young children.

N.B. Saturday 6 May lies in the middle of the revision period for GCSEs and A Levels - an ideal break from all the hard work!


The primary purpose of revenue from An Introduction To Rocket Science is to directly raise funds for the mission of the British Interplanetary Society – initiating, promoting and disseminating new concepts and technical information about space flight and astronautics.

An Introduction To Rocket Science is supported by


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The Royal Institution

21 Albemarle Street



United Kingdom

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