Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum 44

Submission from BROHP (British Rocket Oral History Programme)


  BROHP is an organisation that was set up to record the history of UK endeavours in Space. However, its remit over the last 10 years has widened but remains centred on Education and History.


  1.  Space is punching below its weight. In attempts to construct a national narrative, a sense of who the British are and that they can be proud of; UK achievement in Space is notable by its absence. British children draw rockets with the letters "USA" written on them. The UK has significant achievements in space technology, astronomy and related fields. These narratives need to be preserved and told.

  2.  We argue that there should be a National archive established to collect papers, interviews and photographic records. This archive can be exploited by researchers and the media to tell a richer and more inspiring story of UK achievements in space.

  3.  A good narrative about Space is a powerful tool to inspire a younger generation of scientists, mathematicians and engineers. There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence to support the belief that Space can inspire children. However, we would argue that there is a need for a rigorous statistical analysis to measure the impact of initiatives such as Spaceport, ISSET, NSSC and the Scottish Space School on children's aspirations, attitudes and in particular of the up take of University places in STEM subjects.

  4.  Space research and exploration is perhaps the most inspiring of mankind's activities, and the Sir Arthur Clarke Awards recognise and use this in two ways; by providing recognition of the achievements of individuals and teams in this area, and by showcasing these achievement to others, especially young people. The awards are designed to recognise and reward the best of UK space achievement and the breadth of nominations—which come from the public—show thewide interest in the subject. This should be exploited to help ensure that we have the scientists and engineers to take up the challenge of future projects.

  5.  This submission does not permit a full discussion on this subject. Therefore we would be very pleased to make an oral presentation to the Committee.

  6.  We would like to extend an invitation to the Committee and to its individual members to attend the 2007 BROHP conference, which runs from 12-14 April, and the Sir Arthur Clarke Awards dinner on the 14. This will provide an excellent opportunity for members of the Committee to interact with space professionals, teachers, students and the general public. A debate on UK space activity could be part of the conference programme.


  1.  That a National Space Archive be established.

  2.  That BNSC be given the resources for a much larger public outreach and Education programme about Space.

  3.  That PPARC be tasked with initiating a study of the effect of various Space education initiatives. In particular the take up rates of places at University in STEM subjects.

October 2006

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