British Interplanetary Society

The British Interplanetary Society (BIS) was founded in 1933 by a group of space flight enthuasiasts to promote and educate on the exploration and use of space for the benefit of humanity.

In the years before World War II a technical core of BIS members made the first plans for a rocket capable of landing three men on the Moon and returning them to Earth. After World War II members of the Society developed ideas for the exploration of outer space including developing liquid rockets for launch into space, the construction of Space Stations, the human exploration of the Moon, the development of probes to investigate other planets in our Solar System and the use of space telescopes to observe distant stars and galaxies.

In 1951 the BIS organized the world’s first International Congress on “The Artificial Satellite”, and became one of the founder members of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). Earth Remote Sensing was initially advocated and studied at an international level at its NATO Conference in the 1950s, with space biology following soon afterwards.

Planetary studies began with papers examining the propulsion requirements to reach Mars and Venus, as well as projected instruments for scientific probes. Advocacy of studies on comets and meteors helped further the Giotto mission to Halley’s Comet and later the ESA Rosetta mission.

Studies and long term thinking on human spaceflight and launch vehicle development have always been a core area of activity amongst Society members, with the visionary early work on the BIS Lunar Lander, the Orbital Launcher and various other space launchers and space stations.

With the demise of the Apollo Program in 1972, the British Interplanetary Society continued to encourage exploration of ideas on the possibilities of a return to the Moon and its eventual colonization.

More recently a group within the Society has initiated a series of studies on the scientific and technical objectives of conducting a human exploration of the Martian North Polar Cap (Project Boreas), and another group within the Society has initiated a follow on study to the Daedalus Interstellar Starprobe, called Project Icarus.