The launch of the joint UK/US satellite Ariel-1, also known as UK-1, made the United Kingdom the third country to operate a satellite, after the Soviet Union and the USA.
Deployed into a 1,202 by 397 km orbit Ariel-1 carried six experiments, five of these examined the relationship between two types of solar radiation and changes in the Earth’s ionosphere.
Ariel-1 marked the first time the UK sent something into orbit, and gave a lift-off for a part of the British economy that gets little attention but makes a lot of money.
In this BBC News report Adam Fleming speaks to Doug Millard at the Science Museum, Sir Martin Sweeting G3YJO from Surrey Satellite Technology and Space Minister David Willetts on the UK’s role in space today. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17854280
Watch the UK Space Agency video – 50 Years of the UK in Space
UK Space Agency – Celebrating 50 Years of the UK in Space http://www.bis.gov.uk/ukspaceagency/50-years-in-space
Wiki – Ariel-1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariel_1
UK industry to build Solar Orbiter satellite http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17743190