RAL Celebrates 50 Years of Space
21 Sep 2009




50 Years of RAL Space



The launch of the Allouette Satellite in 1962 marked the beginning of RAL Space's involvement with the space industry. Fifty years on and RAL Space is still a world leader in space science, innovative technology and applications development.

To mark this momentous 50th anniversary a conference dedicated to the last 50 years of RAL Space, reuniting colleagues old and new was held at RAL on the 21st June 2012​​. 

RAL Space Director Professor Richard Holdaway MBE said; “It is extremely important for us to mark this important anniversary and to celebrate the fantastic work that RAL Space has been involved with over the last 50 years.

It is also an opportunity for colleagues old and new to come together, to share stories and anecdotes from days gone by and to also look to the future and to see how far we have come during the last 50 years”.

Sir John Houghton former Appleton Laboratory Director gave a presentation detailing the early days of the Appleton Laboratory, prior to transition from Slough to RAL.  This was followed by presentations on a number of historical space science projects such as IRAS and ISAMS, and the more current such as the Earth Observation programme, bringing the conference up to the present day.

Photographs taken during the conference can be seen on our image gallery.

Presentations included:


Peter WillmoreProfessor Peter Willmore - The Ariel programme 

Sarah JamesSarah James - Ionosondes  

Sir John Houghton

Professor Sir John Houghton - The early days of Appleton Lab's transition from Slough to RAL  (no presentation slides)

Conference6Professor Richard Holdaway - IRAS (the first space project at RAL)  

Fred TaylorProfessor Fred Taylor - ISAMS, HIRDLS & ATSR 

Professor Richard HarrisonProfessor Richard Harrison - Solar Physics 

Dr Peter Allan Dr Peter Allan - Overview of other recent Space Science Programmes 

Dr Chris MutlowDr Chris Mutlow - Overview of other recent Earth Observation Programmes 

Conference6Professor Richard Holdaway - Current and future programmes 

Professor Richard Harrison Delegates at the conference
50th Anniversary Conference Delegates​

For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries