Once We Had A Rocket

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John Underwood talks about the Black ArrowIn 1971, Britain launched the rocket Black Arrow which placed the only British launched satellite into orbit. But the British government saw no future in satellites and were quick to cancel the programme. In this film, the men who designed, built and tested the rocket tell the story of Britain’s doomed space race.

This film was produced by myself and Mat Stracy as our MSc Science Media Production final project at Imperial College London. The film will be broadcast on The History Channel during 2010.

Once We Had A Rocket won the Audience Poll in the Imperial War Museum Film Competition 2008. It was shown throughout November and December in the IWM Cinema and the screening on The History Channel was part of the award. More information at here.

The film was also nominated for a Sir Arthur Clarke Award (Best Student Achievement) and a BUFVC Learning on Screen Award (Best Student Production). It has also been screened at The Needles Old Battery on the Isle of Wight – the former Black Arrow testing site.

The entire film can be watched for free on YouTube and Space.co.uk.


Producers & Directors Joe Myerscough
Mathew Stracy
Narrator James Owen (History Channel Version)
Joe Myerscough (YouTube Version)
Music Kevin MacLeod (History Channel Version)
Moby (YouTube Version)
Archive GKN Aerospace
Imperial War Museum
Wessex Film and Sound Archive
London Fire Brigade
Thanks to Imperial College London
British Rocketry Oral History Project
Rolls Royce Heritage Trust
The National Trust
The Needles Old Battery on the Isle of Wight
The Travellers Joy
Roundhouse Studios
Margarite Dommett
Special Thanks to Bob Sternberg
Dave Wright