Join Skyrora in celebrating 50 years of the UK in space and reflecting on the next 50
What is Prospero?
In 1971, during the midst of the space race, Britain quietly joined the 100km high club – an exclusive group of countries to have made it to space. A three-stage rocket developed and built in the UK had successfully delivered the aptly named Prospero satellite to orbit.
Prospero was launched on Black Arrow from Woomera, South Australia. Hidden within the fairing, Prospero would be the first British satellite launched from a British rocket. The successful launch stood as a testament to British engineering and became a talking point of national pride. In 2018, Skyrora recovered the first stages of Black Arrow-R2 and R3 from its landing site in the South Australian outback. The artifact is now on public display at the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST) Museum.
Where is Prospero now?
Fifty years later, Prospero continues to orbit over our heads whilst, back on Earth, we continue to speak of its significance. Prospero remains the only British satellite launched from a British rocket. The satellite could be heard transmitting on 137.56 MHz as late as 2004. Its longevity, however, retrospectively serves to represent the importance of de-orbital services.
In collaboration with industry, Skyrora is celebrating fifty years of the UK in space and reflecting on the UK's ambition for responsible space launch, ensuring sustainable space for the next 50 years and beyond. The fiftieth anniversary celebration will be hosted at the FAST Museum on the 7th July 2021 at 18:00. The event will include drinks, canapes, and keynote speeches, including from those who were part of the Black Arrow program.
The event will also mark the launch of an inclusive active debris removal project to underscore the UK’s commitment to the future of space operations through the retrieval of on-orbit objects.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we have limited capacity for this event, those who have tickets will only be allowed to enter the physical event. However, we will offer two tickets for free as part of an upcoming competition. More details to follow.