Category Archives: Lecture

January Lecture 2015

“The Micro/Nano-Satellite Revolution”

Thursday 15th January 2015

Lecture Starts at 7.30 pm

By Prof. Craig I. Underwood, Surrey Space Centre, University of Surrey

Location: Lecture Theatre ‘0’, Cambridge University Engineering Department, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ.

Lecture Synopsis

The University of Surrey, together with its spin-out company – SSTL – is a world leader in the design, construction and operation of micro-satellites. Recent technological advances have made it possible to construct even smaller satellites, at an order of magnitude less cost. These “nano-satellites” open up many new possibilities for space exploration. In 2000, Surrey launched its first 6.5 kg nano-satellite: SNAP-1, which demonstrated remote inspection and autonomous orbital manoeuvring using advanced miniaturised technologies. Surrey recently launched STRaND-1, a ~3kg Cubesat, to demonstrate new smart-phone and electric propulsion technology in orbit. Such satellites pave the way for formations of ultra-miniature spacecraft, which together are capable of synthesising complex functions. This lecture reviews the history of satellite activities at Surrey and discusses the technologies that will revolutionise space exploration in the 21st Century.

December Lecture 2014

“The Rise and Fall of the Hawker Siddeley P1154”

Thursday 11th December 2014

Lecture Starts at 7.30 pm

By Dr Michael Pryce, Cranfield University

Venue: Conference Room, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, Cambridge Airport, Newmarket Road, Cambridge CB5 8RX (SATNAV: CB5 8RY)

Advance notification of attendance required.

Please contact Branch Secretary Jin Yu via email at or call 01223 373129.

Parking is available in Cambridge Airport Visitors Car Park (including Disabled Parking in front of ‘Arrival and Departure’ entrance).

Public access to Conference Room is via Cambridge Airport ‘Arrival and Departure’ entrance situated in Visitors Car Park.

More information on venue can be found at

Lecture Synopsis
The Hawker Siddeley P.1154 was a supersonic V/STOL strike fighter designed by the same team that gave the world the successful Harrier family. The P.1154’s cancellation in February 1965 had a major impact on the UK’s aerospace capabilities, the echoes of which resonate even today.

In this talk, Michael Pryce will give a detailed history of the P.1154, which had progressed to the prototype construction stage before cancellation. With its Bristol Siddeley BS.100 engine run on the test stand, thousands of workers throughout industry employed on the project, and millions of pounds spent, the P.1154 was a significant cancelled project, second only in its importance during the 1960’s to the famous TSR2.

Based on extensive archive research, and interviews with those in industry, the services and government, this lecture will show the P.1154 in its rightful place in UK aerospace history. Outlining the various requirements from NATO, the RAF and the Royal Navy, to which the P.1154 was designed, the lecture will look at the political, technical and operational aspects of the project and their complex interactions. The true reasons for, and implications of, the project’s cancellation will be highlighted.

The lecture will also seek to draw parallels between the 2010 SDSR, which cut the UK’s Harrier and carrier fleets, to events in the 1960’s. It will also place the P.1154 as part of a continium of work that led to the UK’s contribution to the F-35 JSF programme.

Mulled wine and Mince Pies to follow lecture.

November Lecture 2014

Zeppelin Terror Attack

Thursday 13th November 2014

Lecture Starts at 6.00 pm

By Dr Hugh Hunt, Cambridge University

Location: Lecture Theatre ‘0’, Cambridge University Engineering Department, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ.

Lecture Synopsis
“Zeppelin Terror Attack” (Channel Four) revisits the little-known story of the First World War’s Blitz, when the Zeppelin waged an 18-month terror campaign on the people of London. Dr Hugh Hunt and his colleagues attempt to find out why it was so difficult for British guns to bring down Zeppelins: a surprising problem given that the airships were filled with flammable hydrogen gas. The material that held the gas in a Zeppelin was made of cow gut, and there follows a series of grisly experiments to find out how the Germans managed to turn narrow tubes of cow intestines into enormous balloons. “Zeppelin Terror Attack” is an explosive mix of investigative engineering and vivid action from the past.

The film will be shown, followed by a Q&A session with the cast and crew.

Lecture to be followed by Buffet Supper at 7.45 pm (admission by advance ticket).